The defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo took a bite out of the championship leader's lead by winning the Italian Grand Prix.
Lorenzo closes in on Stoner in MotoGP title race
SCARPERIA, Italy // Jorge Lorenzo boosted his hopes of retaining his world title with a superb late pass on Casey Stoner to win the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello yesterday.
The Spaniard cut Stoner's advantage to 19 points with his second victory of the season.
Stoner, the championship leader, headed the field in the early stages of the race on his Honda, but Lorenzo caught him in the second half and out-braked him six laps from the end to triumph on his Yamaha.
"I left all my energy on the track," the 2010 champion said. "It was very complicated to pass [Stoner]. I won with my heart and it's magnificent.
"Casey was so quick but little by little, lap by lap I managed to catch him. I saw the opportunity [to take Stoner] on the downhill."
Stoner did not even have the consolation of finishing second as he was passed on the last lap by Andrea Dovizioso, his Honda teammate, to leave him in third spot.
The Australian blamed the hot conditions for causing his bike to lose performance in the second half of the race.
"I did everything I could," he said. "The tyre pressure went up too high and I lost all grip in the rear and you can't do anything without it.
"I tried to keep a consistent pace but it was just too slow."
Dovizioso enjoyed his best result at his home race, and said: "To be the first Italian home in Mugello is something special. Last year I was third. It's something not many people in the world can feel."
There was no fairy tale for Valentino Rossi in his first race in front of his home fans since joining Ducati.
The Italian legend, who has won in Mugello nine times during his career, came in sixth 26.45 seconds off Lorenzo's pace.
Rossi, a seven-time world champion, started 12th in the field, and remains fourth in the standings, 61 points behind Stoner.