Jorge Lorenzo kept his MotoGP title defence alive with his third victory of the season at Misano on Sunday.
Heading into the San Marino Grand Prix 44 points behind pole sitter Casey Stoner, Lorenzo snatched the lead at turn one and led to the finish.
Stoner lurked menacing behind the Yamaha rider for the first half of the race, but the jet-lagged Australian dropped back thereafter and was passed by his own Repsol Honda team-mate Dani Pedrosa.
That meant a nine-point gain for Lorenzo, who is now 35 points behind with five rounds and 125 points remaining.
"Today has been an incredible day for us. I have delivered a good race; it was a very tough and long one. Most importantly we have won again and also reduced a little bit our gap to Casey," said Lorenzo.
“The team have done a great job and all the weekend we have been so quick. I had a great bike and a great feeling in the corners. I really wanted to be first in the first lap to try and open a gap but I was really worried about the situation of the weather so I prayed for it to not rain.
"I expected a hard fight with Casey but fortunately for me he lost a bit of pace mid-race and I could win again. This is a big result for me and for Yamaha and it is great to be back and win again. This is very important.”
Lorenzo was joined on the podium by three time 500cc world champion Wayne Rainey. Rainey made an emotional return to Misano this weekend, 18 years on from his career-ending accident.
"I want to dedicate this victory to Wayne who returned to Misano this weekend and I want to say thanks to all my team for their hard work," said Lorenzo, who then revealed he will have his second ride Yamaha's 1000cc bike on Monday.
"Tomorrow we will try the 1000cc Yamaha again; I am looking forward to riding my future bike," said Lorenzo, adding: "This has been one of the best days of my career!"
Team manager Wilco Zeelenberg commented: "Jorge was pushing it to the limit but he knew he would have to do that to still have a chance at the Championship. It was good that Dani came in between to give us some extra bonus points. We need to keep on winning now!”