Ben Spies produced a masterclass in late braking and stunning overtaking to continue his hugely impressive rookie MotoGP campaign at the new Motorland Aragon track in Spain.
The reigning World Superbike champion was engaged in a classic scrap with factory Honda rider Andrea Dovizioso for the final ten laps.
The pair exchanged overtakes in an engrossing fight, which looked to have swung the Italian’s way when he passed Spies on the penultimate lap.
Spies though refused to cave in and settle for sixth, the 26-year-old launching a brilliant counter attack to pass Dovizioso at the first corner on the final lap.
The pair then exchanged overtakes before Dovizioso crashed out at the turn 12.
Spies looked as thrilled with fifth as he did with his podium finishes in Silverstone and Indianapolis as he overcame a huge top speed deficit to keep a tenacious Dovizioso at bay.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider said: “That was a really good race. I like racing like that and I told the crew afterwards that even if I’d had have finished sixth it would have been the funniest race of the year for me. We started going at it with four laps to go and it was fun.
"I wish it didn’t end with him crashing and I’m sure he's mad he fell down but we were having a blast. We kept it clean and close and he just made a small mistake on the last lap.
"I must admit I wasn't too far away from making one myself because it was getting pretty hectic. Dovi wasn't willing to give up at all but it was a clean battle and one I really enjoyed. On the last lap I got him at turn one and then he got me back at turn eight.
"Going into turn 11 I passed him but got in deep and when we went back to turn 12 I was ahead of him but I didn't have the right line. So he had to go around me but unfortunately he fell and that’s a shame because he rode great.
"I did too and for a while I was pulling back Nicky and Jorge but fifth is still a great result. I wasn’t far behind Jorge and I beat Valentino again and I was the top non-factory rider again.
"And the points are good for my championship so I’m looking forward to this big final run of races with a lot of confidence.”