Indianapolis: Spain's Dani Pedrosa, riding a Honda, won the Indianapolis MotoGP on Sunday to claim his third victory of the season and close the gap on runaway championship leader Jorge Lorenzo to 68 points.
Pedrosa started fifth on the grid but snatched the lead at the end of the seventh lap and was never headed as he took the chequered flag at the famous 'brickyard' circuit.
"It was an especially tough one because of the heat today. I didn't make the perfect start but I was quite quick through the first few tight corners and stayed close to the leaders," Pedrosa told the official MotoGP website (www.motogp.com).
"When I was out in front it was quite hard to stay focused and at the end of the race I was really tired but I'm very happy because last year I crashed when I could have won and now I have made up for it."
American Ben Spies finished second on a Yamaha, his best finish in his first full season in MotoGP, after starting on pole for the first time. Pedrosa's fellow Spaniard Lorenzo crossed the line third to maintain his record of finishing on the podium in all 11 races this season, although it was his worst result after he had finished no worse than second in any previous race.
"I shouldn't be disappointed with third place but at the same time I'm not happy with my race," Lorenzo said. "I didn't ride as well as I could have and I didn't get a good start." With seven rounds to go, Lorenzo leads the championship standings with 251 points.
Pedrosa is second with 183 followed by Italian Andrea Dovizioso (126) who leapfrogged Casey Stoner (119) into third place after the Australian lost the front end of his Ducati. "It was a nothing crash but obviously it was enough to leave me out of the race," Stoner said,
"It is a real shame because we had good pace and I think we could have been on the podium." World champion Valentino Rossi remained fifth overall, one place ahead of Spies, after finishing fourth in the race despite crashing in morning practice.
Pedrosa won the 125cc world championship in 2003 and the 250cc category in 2004 and 2005 before switching to the premier class in 2006. He won two races in each of his first four seasons in MotoGP but already has three victories this year after previous triumphs in Italy and Germany.
The next race is in San Marino on Sept 5.