Dani Pedrosa stormed to only his second win of the 2010 campaign in a restarted German MotoGP race at the Sachsenring this afternoon.
The 24-year-old cruised to a relatively comfortable win over runaway series leader Jorge Lorenzo in a shortened 21-lap race.
The race had to be restarted when red flags came out for a major incident involving Randy de Puniet, Aleix Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista.
The Frenchman crashed heavily and has been diagnosed with a double break in his left leg. And Espargaro and Bautista were both fortunate to escape injury when they hit de Puniet’s RC212V after it came to rest in the middle of the track before turn five.
Once the race was restarted it developed into another scrap between Spanish rivals Pedrosa and Lorenzo.
Fiat Yamaha rider Lorenzo had led the way before the stoppage and he did so again in search of a sixth win in the opening eight races.
He took the lead from a fast starting Pedrosa on lap two. Pedrosa hit back seven laps later with a late braking attack at the first corner. But he was unable to hold his line and Lorenzo immediately seized the initiative back.
Pedrosa produced a carbon copy move on the brakes at the first corner on lap ten and this time he was able to make it stick.
With clear track in front of him Pedrosa was able to instantly open up a gap on Lorenzo.
At the end of lap 11 he was 0.482s clear and a lap later his advantage was a comfortable 0.699s as Lorenzo was unable to respond on his YZR-M1 machine.
Pedrosa eventually won by a convincing margin of 3.355s to win for the first time since the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello in early June.
His victory reduced Lorenzo’s title lead to 47-points heading to California later this week for the American MotoGP clash at Laguna Seca.
Pedrosa said: "I am very happy because we have won again. The race was difficult because of the restart. In the first race Jorge and I were riding very well and pulling away.
"It was almost the same in the second race with both of us going on. I had some spinning but I could keep my pace and move away from Jorge. It is an amazing feeling."
Lorenzo, who has still not finished below second place in 2010, said: "The only thing I could do was to finish second and this is positive for the championship."
With Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda and Lorenzo well clear at the front, a titanic battle unfolded for third involving reigning world champion Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner.
Rossi’s comeback performance after a six-week lay-off with the broken right leg he suffered in Mugello last month was nothing short of miraculous.
The race stoppage undoubtedly helped him avoid having to run 30 successive laps but he lost third place to Stoner by just 0.366ss after a phenomenal ride.
The Italian was 1.973s adrift of Stoner’s factory Ducati GP10 when he passed Andrea Dovizioso to snatch fourth place on lap six.
But he quickly hauled himself into rostrum contention and passed the 2007 world champion for the first time on lap 13.
That was the start of a pulsating clash between the pair with both producing brilliant overtakes to take the advantage.
Rossi looked like he’d secured a stunning podium on his return, only to be thwarted by a brilliantly executed move by Stoner on the brakes at the final corner on the last lap.
Stoner just got the front wheel of his GP10 inside Rossi’s YZR-M1 to make a block pass that gave the heroic 31-year-old Italian no chance to retaliate.
It was Stoner’s third successive third place finish and certainly one of the hardest podiums of his career.
He said: "The first part of the race I didn't have a good feeling with the bike and couldn't run with Jorge and Dani. In the second part we put an old tyre on from yesterday and I was a bit faster. But I couldn't do anything to catch those two at the front.
"Valentino was faster than me and he was taking big chunks of time out of me. We had a great battle and there was some great passes. I went it for it at the last corner and we touched but I'm very happy to come away with a podium."
Dovizioso was unable to match his pace in the second race and only just held off fellow Italian Marco Simoncelli and American Nicky Hayden to secure fifth.
Mika Kallio crashed out of the restart at the first corner while Colin Edwards had fell off at the final corner shortly before the red flags came out while he was in a lowly 16th.
1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team 28m 50.476s
2. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Fiat Yamaha Team 28m 53.831s
3. Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team 28m 55.733s
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 28m 56.099s
5. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team 29m 7.634s
6. Marco Simoncelli ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 29m 8.233s
7. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro Team 29m 8.411s
8. Ben Spies USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 29m 11.433s
9. Hector Barbera ESP Paginas Amarillas Aspar 29m 12.476s
10. Marco Melandri ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 29m 25.693s
11. Loris Capirossi ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 29m 35.518s
12. Alex de Angelis RSM Interwetten Honda MotoGP 29m 35.68s
Mika Kallio FIN Pramac Racing
Alvaro Bautista ESP Rizla Suzuki MotoGP
Aleix Espargaro ESP Pramac Racing
Randy de Puniet FRA LCR Honda MotoGP >
Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3