Dani Pedrosa made the ninth win of his MotoGP career look easy as the Spaniard cruised to a start-to-finish success in Mugello this afternoon.
Pedrosa is never more of a dangerous threat than when he is able to make a breakaway from the field.
And today’s 23-lap race was no exception as Pedrosa took full advantage of Valentino Rossi’s injury absence to ease to his first victory since he won the last round of 2009 at the Valencia circuit.
With Lorenzo and Stoner behind him on the first lap, Pedrosa effortlessly pulled away and he only needed five laps to open up a lead of over 1.7s in front of a crowd of 76,814 fans.
Most were still reeling from the blow that home hero Rossi is sidelined for at least two months after he broke his right leg in practice yesterday.
And any hopes that a pulsating race would help them forget were quickly ruined thanks to a typically fast start from the Repsol Honda rider.
With Rossi watching from his hospital bed in Florence, only seven laps had been completed in sunny and warm conditions when Pedrosa had stretched his lead to a massive 4.962s.
That advantage was close to eight seconds by the 15th lap with series leader Lorenzo and Pedrosa’s team-mate Dovizioso engaged in their own battle for second.
The home crowd were briefly roused out of their slumber when 2009 British GP winner Dovizioso took second from the Fiat Yamaha rider on lap four at the first corner.
But Lorenzo struck back at the same spot just two laps later and he held onto claim a 20-point haul that kept his healthy lead in the overall standings to 25-points over Pedrosa.
Dovizioso had no problem in securing his third podium in the opening four races with the battle for second way clear of an exciting scrap for fourth spot.
Aussie Stoner faded quickly from his promising start and he lost fourth place to a fast charging Marco Melandri on the eighth lap.
Stoner fought his way back into fourth on lap 10 but then he slipped down to sixth with Melandri and LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet moving by on lap 13.
Stoner wasn’t finished though and he produced a brilliant final lap to pass Melandri and de Puniet and claim his best result of the season after a nightmare start to 2010.
San Carlo Gresini Honda rider Melandri held off the determined threat from de Puniet to secure fifth place.
The intense battle for fourth between Stoner, Melandri and de Puniet helped Texan Ben Spies recover ground and get himself into the tussle in the final third of the race.
Spies had been as high as fourth in the early stages after a brilliant start but he dropped down to seventh before settling into a consistent pace.
Despite his best efforts though he was unable to get close for an attack and he ended in seventh ahead of Aleix Espargaro.
American Nicky Hayden’s promising start to the 2010 campaign ended in disappointing fashion this afternoon. The 2006 world champion had been fourth in every race prior to today but he got a disastrous start and crashed out of sixth on lap seven in front of a mass gathering of Ducati fans.
Mika Kallio also crashed out of the race unhurt.
1 25 26 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda 170.4 42'28.066
2 20 99 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 170.2 +4.014
3 16 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda 170.0 +6.196
4 13 27 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 168.7 +25.703
5 11 33 Marco MELANDRI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 168.7 +25.735
6 10 14 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda 168.7 +25.965
7 9 11 Ben SPIES USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 168.5 +28.806
8 8 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Pramac Racing Team Ducati 167.8 +40.172
9 7 58 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda 167.7 +41.394
10 6 65 Loris CAPIROSSI ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 167.7 +42.107
11 5 7 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Interwetten Honda MotoGP Honda 167.6 +43.095
12 4 40 Hector BARBERA SPA Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati 167.6 +43.363
13 3 5 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha 165.6 +1'14.393
14 2 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki 165.0 +1'24.389
36 Mika KALLIO FIN Pramac Racing Team Ducati 166.7 15 Laps
69 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati 167.4 18 Laps