Jorge Lorenzo further strengthened his grip on top spot in the MotoGP championship, producing an imperious ride to clinch his fourth win of the year in the British Grand Prix at Silverstone on Sunday.
Despite losing a place at the start, the 2010 World Champion regained his composure and eventually cruised to what was a comfortable victory by over three seconds from title rival Casey Stoner.
The defending World Champion had looked like repeating his triumph of 12 months ago at Silverstone, but once he was passed by Yamaha’s Lorenzo at just over half distance there was little he could do to regain the lead.
Repsol Honda’s Stoner managed to improve one place on his grid position of third when the race got underway, with both him and Ben Spies taking advantage of a slow start from pole sitter Alvaro Bautista.
The Australian was content to stalk Yamaha rider Spies for the opening laps, probing for an overtaking opportunity whenever it looked like a slight gap might open up. And it eventually did on lap five, with the American running wide to allow Stoner through.
Lorenzo was also on a charge though, having initially dropped down one place from his starting position of fourth. He got past Ducati’s Nicky Hayden on lap six, before blitzing past both Bautista and Spies the next time around.
Stoner was now in his sights and the two title contenders soon began to pull ahead of the chasing pack, opening up a lead of nearly two seconds over the rest of the field at the end of lap nine.
The midway point of the race was when the 25-year-old made his move, diving inside Stoner as the tenth lap came to its conclusion and then somehow managing to hold him off through the first three corners as they went wheel-to-wheel.
But with a clear track in front of him, Lorenzo soon started to forge ahead. Stoner, meanwhile, also had to worry about the challenge from fellow factory Honda rider Pedrosa.
He had scored a second last time out at the Catalan Grand Prix and was also keen to close the gap in the championship standings, currently leading the chase behind the two front runners in third.
Pedrosa was swarming all over the rear of Stoner for the remainder of the race, but would eventually have to settle for the bottom step on the podium. This was Lorenzo’s day though, and he now extends his lead over Stoner in the standings to 25 points.
Elsewhere, Britain’s Cal Crutchlow rode through the pain barrier to claim a hugely impressive sixth position after his participation in the race had been in doubt due to crashing heavily in Saturday morning practise.
His injury, which was subsequently diagnosed as a fractured and injured ankle, meant he had to miss qualifying. But despite having to start at the back of the field he dug deep to give the home fans something to cheer.