ALCANIZ, Spain // Casey Stoner won Moto GP's Aragon Grand Prix from pole position yesterday ahead of Dani Pedrosa of Honda. The Australian rider triumphed for the first time since last season's Malaysian GP in a time of 42mins, 16.530 secs - more than five seconds ahead of Pedrosa. Pedrosa continued his chase of fellow Spaniard and overall leader Jorge Lorenzo of Yamaha, who finished fourth after starting second.
Stoner's Ducati teammate Nicky Hayden passed Lorenzo on the final lap to finish third. Andrea Dovizioso crashed his Honda with one lap to race to ensure only Lorenzo and Pedrosa could still win the title with five races to go. Lorenzo has 284 points and Pedrosa is on 228. Either rider will be the first Spanish champion since 1999. Spain's King Juan Carlos led a minute of silence for Shoya Tomizawa, the Moto2 rider who was killed when he fell and was hit by two trailing bikes in San Marino two weeks ago. All riders across each racing category wore a patch featuring Tomizawa's No 48, which was retired from Moto2 racing in honour of the Japanese rider.
Stoner was relieved to finish in the lead after a tough start that included a slip on the formation lap. "It was a difficult race as I was always a little bit nervous after the crash and I wasn't happy with the brakes. But then I started to go round comfortably," the 2007 champion said. "I just put my head down and did some nice, smooth and consistent laps and pulled away for the win." Pedrosa recovered from a slip at the start that saw him drop back to fifth before recovering to get past the field and pressure Stoner. Pedrosa had won two races in a row to pressure Lorenzo in the title fight.
"I had to come back after Stoner got away," Pedrosa said. "[But] the tyres were constantly slipping out." * Associated Press