Jorge Lorenzo seized the lead in the MotoGP world championship after claiming a stunning late victory in his home race at Jerez today.
The Fiat Yamaha rider fought back superbly from a distant fifth in the early stages to snatch the lead from bitter Spanish rival Dani Pedrosa on the final lap at the Curva Dry Sack.
Lorenzo then comfortably streaked away from Pedrosa to claim his sixth MotoGP victory and his first since the Estoril clash in Portugal last season.
The double world 250GP champion first started his charge to the front on lap five when he snatched fourth from a disappointing Casey Stoner.
He needed another five laps to dispose of Stoner’s factory Ducati team-mate Nicky Hayden before he embarked on a brilliant pursuit of title rival Valentino Rossi and long-time leader Pedrosa.
With six laps remaining Lorenzo had trailed Pedrosa by over two seconds but he started his attack when he claimed second from Rossi on lap 22.
He tried twice unsuccessfully on the penultimate lap to move by Pedrosa, who had led the entire race having grabbed the holeshot from pole position.
Lorenzo attacked at the end of the back straight and made his pass stick and he was never under threat from a counter attack by Pedrosa, who 0.543s adrift in second.
With Pedrosa fading in the closing stages, Rossi almost fought back to claim second but he was only able to get within 0.347s of Pedrosa at the conclusion to the 27-lap race.
Hayden claimed his second successive fourth place as he was unable to stay with the leading trio, though he held off a determined late challenge from Stoner.
The Aussie was never in contention and he had to settle for a disappointing fifth and he’s already 34-points adrift in the title hunt, with just four-points splitting Lorenzo and Rossi.
Andrea Dovizioso rounded out the top six with Loris Capirossi crashing out on the second lap at the final corner.
Texan Ben Spies had a disastrous afternoon after an undiagnosed front tyre issue cost him the chance of claiming a second successive top five finish.
Spies was sixth on lap one and looking menacing behind Stoner when he suddenly started to plummet down the field.
After dropping outside of the top ten as he struggled to lap within 2.5s off the leading group, Spies retired at the end of lap eight.
1 Jorge LORENZO SPA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha 45'17.538
2 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +0.543
3 Valentino ROSSI ITA Fiat Yamaha Team Yamaha +0.890
4 Nicky HAYDEN USA Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati +9.015
5 Casey STONER AUS Ducati Marlboro Team Ducati +10.034
6 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Repsol Honda Team Honda +23.144
7 Mika KALLIO FIN Pramac Racing Team Ducati +34.489
8 Marco MELANDRI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda +34.687
9 Randy DE PUNIET FRA LCR Honda MotoGP Honda +36.160
10 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP Suzuki +36.791
11 Marco SIMONCELLI ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini Honda +37.155
12 Colin EDWARDS USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Yamaha +38.260
13 Hector BARBERA SPA Paginas Amarillas Aspar Ducati +38.371
14 Hiroshi AOYAMA JPN Interwetten Honda MotoGP Honda +1'02.052