Dani Pedrosa’s hopes of claiming the bragging rights in Spain over Yamaha rival Jorge Lorenzo were effectively ended at the first corner of the Catalunya MotoGP race.
The triple world champion made a typically fast start from the second row of the grid to get the holeshot but his victory challenge quickly disappeared when he overshot the first turn and ran off track.
The Repsol Honda rider rejoined the 25-lap race in a lowly tenth place and he embarked on an enthralling surge through the field.
He gained five places by the end of the second lap and just four laps later he found himself in third position.
But Lorenzo and factory Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso had already made a decisive break.
Pedrosa was promoted into second by Dovizioso’s mistake on lap 15 and he rode an immaculate final ten laps to keep Casey Stoner’s factory Ducati GP10 at bay.
The 24-year-old said: “I started well, but before the braking zone I had a big shake on the steering. I didn’t think it was so big, but when I took the brake there was nothing.
"At the beginning I was thinking, what is this? And then I tried to pump the brake and finally I could get the brake on. But it was too late and I was off the track. I tried to be not very fast in this run-off area to not get penalised, so I was back down in about tenth or something.
"And then I tried to recover as fast as I could. When I was stable in the lap times I couldn’t get a good rhythm. I don’t know why I was slower in the hot conditions than in the morning.
"It’s been like this all race weekend. But then Casey made the mistake and then also later on Dovizioso made another mistake and I was second place. I expected to do a better race, but after what happened at the beginning, this second is not so bad.”
Pedrosa was one of several riders to complain about a lack of front tyre grip during the race and he added: “I think like everybody, I had some front slides. When I was braking late I heated the front tyre and when I was going into the corner, the front was just closing.”
Pedrosa could do nothing to stop Lorenzo from cruising to his fifth win of the season and the Fiat Yamaha rider has now won one more MotoGP race than Pedrosa’s nine.
Pedrosa is now a massive 52-points adrift in the title chase and he praised Lorenzo’s phenomenal consistency.
Lorenzo is yet to finish below second in seven races so far and Pedrosa added: “His consistency is amazing and we just have to try to improve our races.”