Valentino Rossi took his first win of the season at the Gran Premio bwin.com de España on Sunday, beating Dani Pedrosa to the line by a 2.7s margin in front of a huge Spanish crowd in Andalusia.
Pedrosa led for the first half of the race having made one of his trademark strong starts from second on the grid, but Rossi took the lead with ten laps to go and did not look back there and his triumph gives him an 11 point lead in the general standings.
The rostrum was completed by Casey Stoner, who trailed Rossi by 10 seconds, the Ducati Marlboro rider moving into second place in the championship. It was the Australian’s first podium appearance at the southern Spanish track.
As was the case in the 250cc and 125cc races the Spanish rider who got underway in pole position crashed out when Fiat Yamaha’s Jorge Lorenzo lost control riding in fourth place with three laps to go, losing ground in the championship race.
An excellent performance from Randy de Puniet, meanwhile, saw the Frenchman bring his LCR Honda satellite machine home in fourth place, having qualified in fifth, to give himself a confidence boost ahead of his home GP in two weeks time at Le Mans.
Another excellent run from Marco Melandri gave the Italian another good points haul in fifth, the former Ducati and Honda rider improving on his good result from last weekend in Japan for the Kawasaki-equipped Hayate Racing team.
Rizla Suzuki’s Loris Capirossi rode steadily from sixth on the grid, to come home in the same position, meaning five different manufacturers were represented in the top six.
Monster Tech Yamaha’s Colin Edwards crossed the line seventh, whilst Andrea Dovizioso did well to finish eighth in his third ride for the factory Repsol Honda team having left the track at one stage. Toni Elías was the second best Spaniard in ninth for the San Carlo Honda Gresini team, with the top ten completed by Suzuki’s Chris Vermeulen.
Sete Gibernau on his return to Jerez could only manage 11th for the Grupo Francisco Hernando team, whilst 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden crossed the line 15th.
The MotoGP stars return to action at the Grand Prix de France in a fortnight’s time.