Casey Stoner leads the MotoGP standings by 44 points with four rounds to go after taking an utterly dominant eighth victory of the 2011 season in the Aragon Grand Prix.
Stoner's practice and qualifying form had suggested he would be hard to beat in the race, and so it proved. He was beaten off the line by Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, and Yamaha's Ben Spies then swept around both of them to take the lead at the first corner.
But by the end of lap one Stoner had overtaken both Pedrosa and Spies and was already storming away in a lead he would never lose, stretching his advantage to eight seconds over Pedrosa. The result was the 100th win for the Repsol/Honda alliance at the top level.
Stoner's title rival Jorge Lorenzo at least managed to salvage third on the leading Yamaha. Marco Simoncelli (Gresini Honda) had fought through from sixth to third early on, before sliding onto the run-off at Turn 12 on lap 10 and falling back behind both Yamahas.
Spies had already lost second to Pedrosa, and his pace tailed off further as the race progressed, the American being overtaken by both Lorenzo and the recovering Simoncelli to end up fifth.
A big dice for sixth was ultimately won by Suzuki's Alvaro Bautista, as he beat Hector Barbera's Aspar Ducati and Nicky Hayden's works example, the trio spreading out in the final laps after swapping places many times in the first half of the race.
Valentino Rossi initially made rapid progress from his pitlane start and was up to ninth by lap seven. But the Ducati could not catch the riders ahead after that, or shake off Cal Crutchlow (Tech 3 Yamaha) and Hiroshi Aoyama (Gresini Honda). In the closing stages both managed to pass the seven-time MotoGP champion, and though Rossi was able to reclaim 10th from Aoyama, Crutchlow was out of reach.
The race saw several incidents, starting at the first corner when Karel Abraham had a heavy crash on his Cardion AB Ducati, sending Randy de Puniet's Pramac Ducati off course in avoidance. Works Honda man Andrea Dovizioso then had a solo fall a few corners later.
Loris Capirossi (Pramac) and Toni Elias (LCR Honda) tangled with seven laps to go when Capirossi clipped the back of Elias' bike. Capirossi was initially in discomfort in the gravel trap but was eventually able to get up and walk away without help.
Results - 23 laps:
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap
1. Casey Stoner Honda 42m17.427s
2. Dani Pedrosa Honda + 8.162s
3. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha + 14.209s
4. Marco Simoncelli Gresini Honda + 20.646s
5. Ben Spies Yamaha + 27.739s
6. Alvaro Bautista Suzuki + 30.373s
7. Nicky Hayden Ducati + 34.288s
8. Hector Barbera Aspar Ducati + 37.305s
9. Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha + 39.652s
10. Valentino Rossi Ducati + 39.832s
11. Hiroshi Aoyama Gresini Honda + 39.997s
12. Randy de Puniet Pramac Ducati + 54.717s
13. Colin Edwards Tech 3 Yamaha + 58.430s
Toni Elias LCR Honda 16 laps
Loris Capirossi Pramac Ducati 16 laps
Andrea Dovizioso Honda 0 laps
Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 0 laps