Jorge Lorenzo showed why Yamaha is so desperate to keep and why Honda might have to break the bank to sign him for 2013 after he claimed a third win of the season in his home race at Catalunya today.
The Spaniard increased his lead in the world championship to 20-points after closest rival Casey Stoner could only finish fourth.
Lorenzo brilliantly fought back after running off track at the first corner on lap 13 to power by Repsol Honda rival Dani Pedrosa seven laps later.
When the 2010 world champion made his mistake on the brakes at the first corner, Pedrosa led by over a second but he was unable to capitalise on his fellow countryman’s error.
But once Lorenzo claimed the lead back on lap 20, he was instantly able to streak away from Pedrosa to win by just over five seconds in front of nearly 80,000 jubilant home fans.
Lorenzo opted to run the softer compound Bridgestone rear tyre for the 25-lap race, while Pedrosa and Stoner both went for the hard option.
Stoner was never in the hunt for the victory as his tyre choice backfired, with conditions cooler than those experienced in practice and qualifying.
The Australian spent most of his time in the race fending off the persistent challenge from British rider Cal Crutchlow, and with fourth he failed to finish on the podium for the first time in 20 races.
The reigning world champion did nearly salvage third place when he launched a last lap attack on Andrea Dovizioso.
But the Repsol Honda rider had left his challenge too late and the Italian grabbed his first rostrum of the season by just 0.183s.
Crutchlow finished fifth after starting from the front row of the grid for the third time of the season. He was never able to put a move on Stoner but he was comfortably ahead of Alvaro Bautista.
Rossi was seventh on his Ducati GP12 as he faded in the closing stages having looked at one stage like he might chase down Bautista’s Gresini Honda.
Ben Spies salvaged 10th place after his run of poor results continued in warm but cloudy conditions.
The Texan made a great start and followed Pedrosa in the early stages before attempting an overtake on the third lap. Spies ran in too hot and went wide and as he tried to avoid running off the track, he lost control of his factory Yamaha YZR-M1 having just touched the grass.
He re-joined the race and clawed his way back to the top 10.
British rider James Ellison finished just one place outside of the points in 16th after an exciting CRT battle with Aleix Espargaro, Randy de Puniet, Michele Pirro and Colin Edwards.