The race was one of the most unpredictable of recent years, with twists and turns every step of the way. Besides the maiden triumph there were falls for the top two in the World Championship, a disastrous pre-race decision from a title contender and riders holding on instead of coming in for a bike change.
Dovizioso had been in the chasing group on the opening laps, but was thrust up to the front courtesy of his superior pace and mistakes from his rivals. After battling with World Championship leader Valentino Rossi at the head of the field, the young Italian found himself alone out in front as the more experienced Rossi fell at the Fogarty Esses with eleven laps remaining.
Also benefitting from consistency were podium finishers Colin Edwards and Randy de Puniet, who engaged in an entertaining battle as the chequered flag came closer to being waved. Monster Tech 3 Yamaha man Edwards took second from the LCR Honda rider on the final hairpin, ending the race just under 1.5 seconds behind Dovizioso. For both riders the top three result was their first podium of the 2009 season.
The early going saw uncertainty and instability as rain fell upon the lights going off. Early leader Jorge Lorenzo had been talked out of running wet tyres and took the lead after just a handful of laps, but took a fall when he clipped a slippery rumble strip and was unable to restart his Yamaha M1. The crash had been foreshadowed by a tumble for Toni Elías, the leader of lap one and a faller at the same spot on lap seven.
The Ducati Marlboro team of Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden were the only riders to go with full wet tyres on the grid, although a lack of heavy rainfall and the durability of Bridgestone’s dry tyre meant that they were immediately off the pace. The duo were lapped by the leaders two laps before the halfway point of the race, their gamble definitively failing to pay off.
With eight laps remaining the first riders came in to change machines, but it was too late for the switch to make an impact. Alex de Angelis placed fourth, ahead of the remounted Rossi and home rider James Toseland –with whom he dueled on the last lap. Rossi now leads the World Championship by 25 points from Lorenzo.