Stoner hammers it home at Estoril

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IOL mot pic may7 MotoGP Stoner Estoril

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Casey Stoner took his second consecutive win of the season.

Honda works rider Casey Stoner made it two wins in a row to take the lead in the MotoGP championship with victory on Sunday in the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril.

The reigning World Champion led from the start as he put in another dominant performance at the Portuguese circuit, ahead of championship rival, Yamaha Team leader Jorge Lorenzo.

Stoner's win now means he has won at every track on the current MotoGP calendar in the premier class.

The Australian pulled out a gap early on, but Lorenzo, and Stoner's team mate Dani Pedrosa, didn't give up without a fight, slowly closing in on the leader throughout the race - until Stoner put the hammer down in the final laps, to take the win by 1.421 seconds.

Yamaha Tech 3's Andrea Dovizioso fought a race-long battle with team mate Cal Crutchlow, and came out on top for the first time this season to finish fourth.

Honda privateer Alvaro Bautista put in another solid performance to take sixth, finishing ahead of Ducati's Valentino Rossi, who recorded his best finish of the season. Despite still not being near the front, Rossi says he's starting to feel more comfortable on the Desmosedici.

After showing promising form all weekend, Yamaha's Ben Spies had another disappointing race, finishing down in eighth after running wide early on in the race. He pushed Honda privateer Stefan Bradl into ninth, ahead of Ducati rider Héctor Barberá in tenth.

ART rider Aleix Espargaró took top CRT spot for a second consecutive race.

MOTO2

Marc Marquez (Suter) won the 600cc race after a phenomenal last-lap battle with compatriot Pol Espargaró (Kalex).

Márquez took the holeshot and led the opening stages from Suter-mounted Thomas Lüthi, as Espargaró and Motobi rider Johann Zarco made their way to the front.

But is was Lüthi who took the early lead, which he held for most of the race, until the Spanish riders hauled him in and passed him in the closing stage to deliver one of the best last-lap battles seen in Moto2, as the pair swapped positions a number of times in the final minute, with Marquez coming out on top after a mistake by Espargaró going into the final chicane.

That made it two wins in three races for Márquez to extend his championship lead.

Lüthi took the final spot on the podium, followed by Zarco, Speed Up rider Andrea Iannone and Alex De Angelis on a Suter.

Rounding out the top ten were Suter riders Toni Elías and Julián Simón, Mika Kallio on a Kalex and Bradley Smith on a Tech 3.

MOTO3

KTM rider Sandro Cortese got the better of a thrilling battle to the line with rival Maverick Viñales.

The young German got the holeshot and led Viñales into the first corner. After the typical Moto3 melee of 34 bikes swapping places in the opening laps, a leading group of Cortese, Luis Salom (Kalex KTM), Efrén Vázquez (FTR Honda), Viñales and Cortese's team mate Danny Kent started to pull away.

Cortese moved past Viñales at the end of the straight to take the lead four laps from the end, but he couldn't shake the young Spaniard, as the two rode wheel to wheel for the final three laps. Salom, then lying in fourth, also took the fight to KTM rider Zulfahmi Khairuddin, as he pushed past in Turn 1 with two laps to go.

The last lap was a nail-biting affair as Viñales and Cortese repeatedly banged fairings, but Cortese won the sprint fporm the final bend to the line by 0.055sec, to take his first win of the season and the lead in the championship.

The last step on the podium went to Salom, who managed to hold Khairuddin at bay to secure third.

The top ten were rounded out by Vázquez, Niccolo Antonelli (FTR Honda), Alex Rins (Suter Honda), Danny Kent on a KTM, Alexis Masbou (Honda) and Jakub Kornfeil (FTR Honda).

The next MotoGP will be on 20 May at Le Mans in France.

RESULTS - MOTOGP

1 Casey Stoner (Australia) Honda - 45min37.513

2 Jorge Lorenzo (Spain) Yamaha +1.421sec

3 Dani Pedrosa (Spain) Honda +3.621

4 Andrea Dovizioso (Italy) Yamaha +13.846

5 Cal Crutchlow (Britain) Yamaha +16.690

6 Alvaro Bautista (Spain) Honda +21.884

7 Valentino Rossi (Italy) Ducati +26.797

8 Ben Spies (US) Yamaha +33.262

9 Stefan Bradl (Germany) Honda +35.867

10 Hector Barbera (Spain) Ducati +53.363

11 Nicky Hayden (US) Ducati +1min02.630

12 Aleix Espargaro (Spain) ART +1min20.736

13 Randy de Puniet (France) ART +1min23.483

14 Michele Pirro (Italy) FTR +1min37.905

15 Danilo Petrucci (Italy) Ioda +1 lap

MOTO2

1 Marc Marquez (Spain) Suter - 44min04.086

2 Pol Espargaro (Spain) Kalex +1.987sec

3 Thomas Luthi (Switzerland) Suter +2.071

4 Johann Zarco (France) Motobi +9.227

5 Andrea Iannone (Italy) Speed Up +10.481

6 Alex de Angelis (San Marco) Suter +21.180

7 Toni Elias (Spain) Suter +21.394

8 Julian Simon (Spain) Suter +21.504

9 Mika Kallio (Finland) Kalex +21.581

10 Bradley Smith (Britain) Tech 3 +24.100

MOTO3

1 Sandro Cortese (Germany) KTM - 41min34.536

2 Maverick Vinales (Spain) FTR Honda +0.055sec

3 Luis Salom (Spain) Kalex KTM +11.038

4 Zulfahmi Khairuddin (Malaysia) KTM +12.195

5 Efren Vasquez (Spain) FTR Honda +20.934

6 Niccolo Antonelli (Italy) FTR Honda +20.976

7 Alex Rins (Spain) Suter Honda +21.792

8 Danny Kent (Britain) KTM +21.888

9 Alexis Masbou (France) Honda +23.046

10 Jakub Kornfeil (Czech Republic) FTR Honda +23.310

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