Stoner rides high after Czech win

Australian extends lead in MotoGP championship as he guns for first world title since maiden victory in 2007.

    A fan kisses Marco Simoncelli after the Italian finished third for his first top-level podium finish [AFP]

    Australia's world championship leader Casey Stoner stormed to his sixth victory of the season at the Czech MotoGP in Brno.

    With seven races to go in the season, Stoner now has a comfortable overall lead with 218 points ahead of Jorge Lorenzo (186) and Andrea Dovizioso (163).

    The 25-year-old Stoner, winning in the Czech Republic for the first time since his championship year of 2007, beat Honda Repsol teammate Dovizioso of Italy by 6.532 seconds.

    "I had a really tough battle with Andrea (Dovizioso) in the early laps but once I got past him I realised the bike had enough speed," said Stoner, winning his 29th MotoGP on Sunday.

    "After a tough weekend it's really satisfying to win here," he added after finishing in fine sunny weather that helped dry the circuit after Saturday's rain.

    Dovizioso said he was pleased with his result and with a "really competitive team."

    "I made a really good start, I tried to cut Casey but I made a mistake," he said.

    Italy's Marco Simoncelli on another Honda came in third - for his first ever podium placing at this level - while defending world champion Lorenzo lost more points to the Australian in finishing fourth.

    "We as a team were confident of achieving a podium position this season and I am really happy to have got my first one," said Simoncelli.

    Crashed out

    Spanish pole-sitter Dani Pedrosa crashed out from the first place on lap three, followed by Britain's Cal Crutchlow and Czech Karel Abraham.

    Stoner took the lead and kept building the advantage until a few laps before the finish when he allowed the chasers to narrow the gap.

    Lorenzo took the lead briefly in lap one but then he gave in to pressure from Dovizioso and Simoncelli, and he had to fight hard to shake off Yamaha's US rider Ben Spies, who took the fifth place.

    Italian Ducati rider Valentino Rossi came in sixth, failing to extend his record of five MotoGP victories on Brno's undulating 5.403-kilometre circuit about 180 kilometres southeast of the Czech capital Prague.

    Spain's Alvaro Bautista crashed out six laps from the finish, making the weekend a total failure for his Rizla Suzuki team after his US teammate John Hopkins had broken a finger in Saturday's practice and was ruled out of the race.

    Earlier on Saturday, Italian Suter rider Andrea Iannone won the Moto2 thriller ahead of Spain's Marc Marquez and Stefan Bradl of Germany, who is leading the championship 43 points ahead of Marquez.

    And Germany's Sandro Cortese of Aprilia scored the first victory of his career by edging France's Johann Zarco in the 125cc race, with Spain's Alberto Moncayo coming in third while overall leader Nicolas Terol retired early in the race.

    SOURCE: AFP


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    Interactive: Coding like a girl

    What obstacles do young women in technology have to overcome to achieve their dreams? Play this retro game to find out.

    Heron Gate mass eviction: 'We never expected this in Canada'

    Hundreds face mass eviction in Canada's capital

    About 150 homes in one of Ottawa's most diverse and affordable communities are expected to be torn down in coming months

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    I remember the day … I designed the Nigerian flag

    In 1959, a year before Nigeria's independence, a 23-year-old student helped colour the country's identity.