History repeated itself for Valentino Rossi in Sunday's Czech Republic Grand Prix when, for the second year in succession, his nearest title rival crashed out while holding a narrow lead - handing the Italian victory and a 50 point championship advantage.
In 2008 it was Ducati's Casey Stoner who lowsided out of the race, but in 2009 it was Fiat Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo who appeared to succumb to the pressure.
While Stoner had fallen on lap 7 while being hunted down by Rossi, Lorenzo had fought forwards from fourth at turn one to take second behind Rossi on lap 4 of 22.
From then on it was a two-man race, the M1 riders blasting around Brno over one-second a lap faster than their nearest rivals, led by Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.
“We tried a modification to close the gap with Jorge, who in practice was faster than us, so we began the race a little bit blind,” said Rossi. “I got a good start and tried to push like a devil. In the first two or three laps I knew the bike was working well. I was waiting for the battle with Jorge, but I still made it hard work for him to catch me.”
Lorenzo finally overtook Rossi for the first and last time with six laps to go, squeezing inside the Italian on the brakes into turn three.
The reigning six time MotoGP champion then made a half-hearted attempt to retake the lead at the same turn on the following lap. Rossi hadn't even got alongside Lorenzo when the #99 lost the front and lowsided into his second retirement in a row.
“When Jorge overtook me I thought 'now we will have another big battle' like so many times this year. I felt strong and I was ready. But unfortunately Jorge made a mistake; he lost the front and crashed,” said Rossi. “After that was relaxed, I rode around like a tourist - looking at everything!”
Lorenzo now has just six races to try and claw back the lost points, meaning an average of 8.3 points per race.
It's will be a huge task: Rossi left Brno 2008 with an identical 50 point lead over Stoner with six rounds to go - and went on to win his eighth world championship by 93 points.