James Toseland celebrated his 28th birthday with the best ride of his MotoGP career at Phillip Island on Sunday.
Although the Englishman ultimately finished (a career best equalling) sixth - for the sixth time this season - it was the manner in which he achieved the result that turned heads.
Toseland fought Valentino Rossi for third during the first half of the race, then spent the remainder of the grand prix in the thick of a thrilling four-way battle for fourth.
A strong start from fifth on the grid saw Toseland perfectly placed to inherit third when Dani Pedrosa slid off at turn two.
While Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden escaped up front, Toseland briefly surrendered third to factory Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo on lap three, but retaliated with a bold move at the first corner on lap five.
It was the sign of things to come and Toseland was soon leading a three-way Yamaha dice that now included newly crowned six time MotoGP champion Rossi.
The Italian superstar soon passed race winning team-mate Lorenzo, but Toseland - riding in only his 16th grand prix, but a race winner at the 2007 Phillip Island WSBK event - proved a tougher prospect, Toseland twice re-passing Rossi until the #46 finally secured the position on lap 13 of 27.
"That was an unbelievable race," smiled James afterwards. "I just wanted to stay out of trouble but I had some incredible battles out there. The one with Valentino was something special. When he passed me I knew I had to get straight back by him.
"The rear was already spinning at that point and I tried everything I could to keep him behind me. When he did pass me and he pulled a gap, I did push a bit too hard and that cost me towards the end of the race. But it was an honour to be racing with Valentino and passing him," he admitted.
Rossi was still less than one second ahead of Toseland on lap 17, but the double WSBK champion now had his hands full defending fourth from Lorenzo, plus the Hondas of Dovizioso and Shinya Nakano stacked up behind the Spaniard.