Dani Pedrosa led today’s Jerez MotoGP race from turn one right to the flag with a mistake-free performance.
Pedrosa took the lead going into the first turn to get ahead of pole-sitter Jorge Lorenzo and teammate Nicky Hayden.
And it turned out to be a race of strange fortunes.
Casey Stoner, who is usually impeccable when it comes to keeping the bike on the island since moving to Ducati, had gravel-bound trips on two occasions, while Valentino Rossi seemed to have lost concentration when he wheelied and celebrated his second position on the penultimate lap.
Rossi still managed second despite the premature celebrations, ahead of teammate Lorenzo and an impressive Nicky Hayden.
The first incident occurred on lap two when Rossi dropped underneath ex-teammate Colin Edwards for fifth at the hairpin at the end of the long back straight, only for Stoner just behind to run into the turn too hot and end up last after recovering from the gravel trap.
On lap four Rossi passed Lorenzo going into the series of Nieto right-handers but once there could do nothing about the immensely quick Pedrosa.
Edwards crashed out early on lap five but his Tech 3 Yamaha compatriot James Toseland forced his way up to fifth.
Toseland, who was applauded for his aggressive riding and overtaking at Qatar, proved he was able to mix it with the best by muscling both Chris Vermeulen and Andrea Dovizioso out of the way to make forward movement.
On lap 21 Nicky Hayden provided fans with the save of the day, replicating Edwards’ near crash at turn one in qualifying yesterday when the 2006 MotoGP champion lost the front end but held the bike up on his right knee and elbow!
Two laps after Hayden’s near crash, Casey Stoner went off again at the same corner as he did on the second lap when he was cut-up by Nakano who was in turn making a move on another rider.
Pedrosa eased off by the end of the race, dropping the gap to Rossi in second down to three seconds.
With the top four positions decided before the final lap, the real battle was for fifth.
And unfortunately James Toseland, who appeared to be the quickest out of the bunch, was blocked out of fifth by frantic last turn moves by Loris Capirossi and Dovizioso. JT still managed a respectable sixth.
Pedrosa now leads the championship after two races, just ahead of fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo in second, Rossi third and Stoner fourth.
1. Dani Pedrosa
2. Valentino Rossi
3. Jorge Lorenzo
4. Nicky Hayden
5. Loris Capirossi
6. James Toseland
7. John Hopkins
8. Andrea Dovizioso
9. Shinya Nakano
10. Chris Vermeulen
11. Casey Stoner
12. Marco Melandri
13. Anthony West
14. Alex de Angelis
15. Toni Elias
16. Sylvain Guintoli
Randy de Puniet