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Just like 2011, the usual suspects: Stoner, Lorenzo and Pedrosa. The only difference was that Valentino went missing two laps from the end after crashing at the Corkscrew. He was unhurt but his morale will have taken a blow. Casey with this fourth win of the season, performed brilliantly after opting for the somewhat risky strategy of running the softer tyres. He spent much of his time trying to conserve his tyres as much as possible but pushed hard right from the start and even more so towards the end of the race. The King of Laguna Seca enjoyed his third win in California. Lorenzo, although beaten, is still in a good position. His lead over Pedrosa in the overall standings increased to 23 points and the one over Stoner is even bigger, Casey is now 32 points behind. Behind the leading group of three, there was a hard fought battle between Dovizioso and Crutchlow but it was the Italian who won as has often recently been the case. Ben Spies who was in front of them, was looking good but crashed out on lap twenty-one. It was difficult race for everyone on this tiring track. The German, Stefan Bradl, started very well and seemed to have the measure of the three Yamahas in front of him (the official bike of Ben and the two satellite machines) but his pace dropped off towards the end and had to give way to an on-form Nicky Hayden who this time stayed in front of Valentino to finish sixth, 27 seconds behind Stoner. Espargaro finished ninth behind Bautista and first in the CRT category. Petrucci and Pasini both fell.

And now? Rossi has just a few weeks to make a decision about his future after Ducati offered him a long-term contract at the Laguna meeting. He seems to have doubts. Time flies and he doesn't seem too keen to wait. His fall at Laguna was a carbon copy of what happened at Silverstone when he lost the front with no warning whatsoever. Very worrying. They say that he has already agreed to return to Yamaha with Lorenzo as his team mate even though this could cost him dearly in terms of both income and status as regards his role.