The reigning world champion, Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, was handed victory at his home MotoGP race on a dramatic wet afternoon in Jerez yesterday which saw the former world champions Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner crash out.
Yamaha rider Lorenzo was able to ease away to a comfortable victory after Ducati's Rossi careered into the Repsol Honda of Stoner after an ill-advised overtaking manoeuvre at the end of lap six.
After the race, Lorenzo said: "It was tough but finally I managed to win on a wet track which I had never done before. We had some luck because maybe without the Valentino and Casey crash we wouldn't have won. But races are like that and today the fortune was on our side."
Marco Simoncelli had looked set to win his maiden MotoGP race but he also crashed out, handing Lorenzo the win and the overall lead in the standings. Stoner's team-mate Dani Pedrosa made it a one-two for Spain with Rossi's team-mate Nicky Hayden third, while the British rider Cal Crutchlow was eighth.
The field started with full wet tyres on a damp track in light rain and Rossi put his wet weather skills to good effect as he made up four places on the opening lap.
Pedrosa went the other way and was down in 10th place as Rossi moved into sixth at the end of lap two.
Rossi then moved past Lorenzo to take third as the rain eased off before he dived up the inside of Stoner into turn one at the start of lap seven.
But the nine-time champion lost the front end of his Ducati and took Stoner down with him into the gravel trap, and while Rossi was able to remount his bike and continue, Stoner's race was over.
That left Simoncelli with a clear advantage over Lorenzo, with Rossi's team-mate Hayden promoted to third place. Simoncelli had a huge lead but crashed out at the same corner as Rossi when he high-sided his Gresini Honda and was forced to retire.
That left Lorenzo in the clear ahead of compatriot Pedrosa as the rain returned and a host of riders crashed out.
The rookies Danny Kent and Taylor Mackenzie claimed fourth and fifth places in the 125cc race with Bradley Smith fourth in the Moto2 class.