Reigning six time MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi
has taken his first win of the 2009 season - and the 98th of his career - with a come-from-behind victory in front of over 123,000 fans in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
The Italian, second at the first two rounds of the season, held his fourth on the grid during the opening corners - whilst home hero Dani Pedrosa
stormed into an early lead ahead of Casey Stoner
and pole sitter Jorge Lorenzo.
Rossi - who appeared deflated after qualifying 0.7sec off pole - snatched third place from Lorenzo on lap two, then made a second pass on Stoner stick to claim the runner-up spot from the Ducati rider on lap seven of 27.
By that point Pedrosa's Repsol Honda was 1.4sec ahead of the #46 Fiat Yamaha, and Pedrosa - winner of last year's race - initially matched The Doctor lap-for-lap, before Rossi surged up to the Spaniard's rear wheel with eleven laps to go.
Rossi made his victory pass with a repeat of his Lorenzo move, diving inside at the Nieto corner that leads into the stadium section. The 30-year-old quickly put a safe amount of space between himself and Pedrosa on his way to a 2.7sec victory and the 2009 title lead by eleven points over Stoner.
Rossi celebrated by repeating his classic 'portaloo' celebration from the 1999 Spanish 250GP, whilst the trackside fireworks began exploding.
Pedrosa was able to maintain second position and therefore continue his remarkable record of never finishing lower than second at a Jerez MotoGP race, while Stoner faced a late race attack from Lorenzo.
The Spaniard, whose Motegi victory last weekend had given him the world championship lead, was strangely off pace for the first half of the race - and almost seven seconds behind Pedrosa by the midway stage.
However the Spaniard, 22 years old on Monday, found form thereafter, closing to within less than one second of third place Stoner with four laps to go - when he lost the front of his M1 and dramatically lowsided into the gravel.