(CNN) -- Spain's Dani Pedrosa claimed the U.S. MotoGP at Laguna Seca in California as second-placed Valentino Rossi extended his championship lead.
Pedrosa (left) and Rossi share a champagne moment on the Laguna Seca podium.
Honda's Pedrosa led from the first lap to the last, but reigning title holder Rossi almost pipped him to the line in a dramatic finish.
Rossi's Yamaha teammate Jorge Lorenzo of Spain finished third as he battled a shoulder injury he suffered in Saturday's qualifying where he still claimed pole despite his crash.
Australian Casey Stoner was fourth on a Ducati and his teammate, American Nicky Hayden, finished fifth.
Rossi increases his lead as he seeks a seventh MotoGP title with 151 points from Lorenzo on 142 and Stoner on 135.
It was the first race of the season which has not been won by one of the leading three and takes Pedrosa to fourth in the standings with 92 points.
"It has been tough but we did a good job and to finally get a win here is a good feeling. After a whole year with so many troubles and injuries this is perfect," he told the official MotoGP Web site www.motogp.com.
Italy's Rossi, who claimed his 100th career win last weekend at the Dutch MotoGp, was expecting to secure his third straight victory.
"I didn't expect Dani to be so strong today," Rossi said. "I was pushing a lot on the final lap and I saw Dani slow down. I got close, but not close enough."
The 250cc and 125cc categories had the weekend off.