Andrea Dovizioso came into the British Grand Prix having failed to finish the last three races, but left Donington Park as a MotoGP race winner.

The Italian, who took one podium during his rookie 2008 season with Scot Honda, hadn't been higher than fourth as a factory rider heading into round ten of this season, but broke his 2009 rostrum drought in perfect style.

"It's a fantastic feeling to win my first MotoGP race because this is the top series in the world with the best riders and so to win is a fantastic emotion," beamed Dovizioso, a former 125cc world champion. "This is also important for my confidence after the last three races.

"I'm very pleased with my performance today as the conditions were so difficult. It was like three different races - riding hard at the start when it was nearly dry, following Valentino as it got wetter, and then judging the pace once I was in front. I rode well in every section and managed the very tricky situation, so it's really satisfying."

Fourth in the early stages of a race that took place with the leading riders using slick tyres on an increasingly wet track, Dovizioso first took the lead on lap 3 of 30, before dropping back to third behind world championship leaders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.

When Lorenzo crashed out of first place on lap 8, Dovizioso suddenly found himself alone with countryman Rossi, whom he shadowed until the reigning six time MotoGP champion lost control of his M1 with ten laps to go.

"Once I was following Valentino it was quite easy because it's not so difficult to follow someone in these conditions since the leader has to judge where it's wet and where it's dry," explained the Repsol Honda rider. "But when he fell it was clear from his crash that the tyres were very cold and this was scary because now I had to set the pace."

As the conditions worsened, Dovizioso's ten-second lead over Randy de Puniet and Colin Edwards vanished, setting up a thrilling finish which saw all three riders covered by two seconds at the start of the last lap.

Dovizioso held his nerve to become the fifth different race winner of the 2009 season by 1.360sec over Edwards, with de Puniet just a few tenths further behind.

"Colin and Randy closed the gap quickly in the last five laps and at this point I was being careful and wasn't pushing to the limit, but in the final two laps I pushed as hard as I could and they weren't able to get close enough to try and pass," he said. "I'm so happy with this win, and we'll use it to move forward."

Dovizioso's victory was Honda's second of the season, after team-mate Dani Pedrosa won at Laguna Seca, but marked the first time since 2006 that two different Honda riders have won a race in the same season.

Prior to Sunday, Pedrosa was also the only rider to have won a race with the 800cc RC212V.

"This is a great result for Andrea and he did an excellent job in conditions that were extremely difficult, so congratulations to him and the team," said team manager Kazuhiko Yamano. "We can build on this result and I think it is only the start for Andrea - now he can get stronger and stronger. He's had a tricky time at the last few races, but his pace and consistency has been improving so he and his team really deserve this result."

Team-mate Pedrosa ran as high as second in the early stages of the race, but slipped back to ninth at the chequered flag as he struggled with the conditions.

"First I have to congratulate Andrea on his win because he rode a great race from beginning to end in very difficult conditions," said the Spaniard. "For me, the result today is obviously disappointing and the team because I have been fast all weekend and I couldn't keep that up during the race.

"At the beginning I was feeling good on the Bridgestone slicks and was able to judge my pace well according to the conditions. As the rain came however, I couldn't maintain the temperature in the tyres and when this happens the grip really goes away and I wasn't able to control the bike as I wanted.

"On the grid I was sure my tyre choice was correct, but with 10 laps to go I thought that maybe I should go into the pits and change to wets, but it wasn't worth losing 20 seconds for the bike change because the lap times of the riders on the wet tyres were the same as the times on slicks.

"It was a frustrating race in strange conditions, but we'll still have confidence going into the next race in Brno because we've been making progress recently and I'm feeling strong on the bike," he insisted.

Fourth in the championship Pedrosa is now 72 points from Rossi with seven rounds remaining, with Dovizioso 21 points behind in sixth.

As far as is known, both Dovizioso and Pedrosa are yet to sign a contract for the 2010 season.

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