A vital tweak just minutes before the start of the race propelled

Australian MotoGP star Casey Stoner to victory in the US Grand Prix.

Stoner,

who called himself a "one-lap wonder" after narrowly conceding pole

position to rival Jorge Lorenzo in qualifying, proved he was much more

at Laguna Seca in California.

He had struggled with the settings

on his Honda almost to the start before finding a breakthrough in the

morning warm-up, which allowed him to storm home ahead of the Spaniard.

"To be honest it was the most relaxed I've been before a race in a long time," Stoner said.

"We've

had a really difficult weekend, but this morning in the warm-up we

found something and thought we could run with these guys."

Even so, he plotted a cunning and careful strategy before pouncing five laps from the finish.

"At

the start of the race I really struggled. I was patient, I was quiet, I

knew that they weren't going to pull away and I still had something

left," Stoner said.

"Lap by lap, when the fuel went out, it just got better and better."

He reeled in fellow Honda racer Dani Pedrosa before targeting Lorenzo in the closing stages.

"I saw Dani struggling a little bit and decided to go past him because we were losing time to Jorge," Stoner said.

"Then

once I caught Jorge, I wanted to stay behind to see what was going on.

Then we knew we had some more pace than what Jorge was able to run and

we decided to go to the front and see what happened."

The 2007

world champion made his move on the 27th of 32 laps on the technically

demanding circuit to claim the victory and take his points total to 193,

20 more than defending world champion Lorenzo.

Lorenzo had started from pole despite a spectacular crash in practice on Saturday.

Stoner won in 43 minutes and 52.145 seconds, more than five seconds ahead of Lorenzo, with Pedrosa finishing third.

"We

felt good, really good, at the end," said Stoner. "It's really good to

come back with a race like this and show everybody that we can still

win."

He collected his fifth victory of the season, but had not won in three races since a victory at Silverstone.

The

25-year-old captured the 28th MotoGP win of his career and turned the

tables on Lorenzo, who beat him at Laguna Seca last year.

But Lorenzo was delighted with second after a big qualifying crash cast doubts over whether he would be able to race.

"I'm

lucky to be in the second position this weekend, because after the

crash yesterday morning, in the first moments I thought it wasn't

possible to take part in the race," Lorenzo said.

"So after qualifying I really hoped to fight for the victory till the end.

"But

sometimes expectations are not the reality, and today Casey was faster

than us, especially at the end. He had something more than we had.

"Also my physical condition was not so perfect, so together it made us quite slow at the end."