Casey Stoner said he was delighted with the ground gained in the championship after taking his second MotoGP win of the season at Le Mans.
The Australian, who also won the opener in Qatar, had fallen back in the standings when he was taken out by Valentino Rossi in Spain, and then only finished third in Portugal. But with Dani Pedrosa crashing out in an incident with Marco Simoncelli at Le Mans today and Jorge Lorenzo coming home fourth, Stoner's victory moved him to within 12 points of the latter in the title chase.
"It's been an awesome weekend and from start to finish everything has been amazing," said Stoner, who was quickest in all the practice sessions before dominating the race. I'm just really looking forward to the next race now. It was good to get some points back today."
Stoner said his only problem was an issue getting his bike going before the start.
"We've been having a few problems all weekend starting it, and we had some big dramas there," he explained.
"Holding the clutch in the whole time, I couldn't get it into neutral, and heated the clutch up, so the start was just terrible. I basically burnt the clutch a little bit, so I lost a few positions.
"I managed to be a little bit aggressive in the first turn so I made up some positions behind Dani. Then Dani was being very cautious, especially on the left side of the tire, and I felt mine might be warmer than his and I wanted to get past, but he was being very clever, very cautious and it was difficult to pass him."
Once ahead of Pedrosa, it took Stoner several laps to shake off his Honda teammate.
"When I did overtake I thought I could pull a bit of an advantage, but Dani was there the whole time," said Stoner. "Every time I upped the pace, he tried to up it as well. It got to a point where I was able to run those lap times consistently and he wasn't quite able to get there – I'm not sure if he was having some problems with his last injury, but I was able to get an advantage and the race started to come to my way a little bit more and we were able to win."