Jorge Lorenzo produced a stunning second half fightback in Jerez yesterday to win his first MotoGP race on home soil.
The jubilant Fiat Yamaha rider had looked out of contention for victory in the 27-lap race when he trailed leader Dani Pedrosa by close to four seconds shortly before the halfway stage.
But Lorenzo showed once again that one of his key strengths is his pace on worn race tyres as he embarked on a stunning surge through the field.
A poor start dropped the 22-year-old down to fifth and he was unable to make an early impression as he struggled with a full fuel tank on his Fiat Yamaha YZR-M1 machine.
He disposed of struggling Aussie Casey Stoner on lap five but needed another five laps to successfully hunt down and pass the Ducati GP10 of Nicky Hayden.
Another 12 laps had elapsed and Lorenzo was now looking in devastating form as he took second from team-mate and Qatar winner Valentino Rossi at the Curva Dry Sack,
That left him just five laps to close down a two-second deficit on Pedrosa. He tried two failed overtakes on the penultimate lap as Pedrosa stood firm in the face of the onslaught but he broke Pedrosa’s heart after the Repsol Honda rider had led for all but half-a-lap.
Lorenzo made his move at the Curva Dry Sack on the final lap and eventually ended up a comfortable winner by 0.543s to spark wild celebrations in the crowd of over 122,000 fans.
Lorenzo’s sixth premier class win moved him into the lead in the world championship standings by four points over Rossi.
And he celebrated in hilarious fashion by leaping into a lake in the middle of the circuit. Weighed down by his leathers and helmet though he needed assistance to make it out of the water and he said: “It has always been one of my dreams to win a MotoGP race in Spain and this was like a movie, everything that could possibly happen did!
"It was a very hard race because I made such a bad start and then found it very difficult in the first laps - I gave myself a tough job to do. After that I started to feel better and rode like a demon to get to the front.
"Once I passed Valentino I knew that I couldn't take it easy, I had to try everything to win and it was all I could think about. I had a great fight with Dani and in one moment we nearly crashed so I had to try again, on the very last lap!
"I know it's better to win races calmly, from the front, but lately that hasn't been the way for us and I have had to fight on every lap.
"I saw the lake on Thursday and thought it would be funny to jump in and I think the fans liked it, but I didn't really think about how heavy I'd be with wet leathers and for a minute I thought I wasn't going to get out!
"This has been an amazing day, I can't believe I've achieved this dream of mine, in front of all the Spanish fans at this magical place."