Jorge Lorenzo continued his perfect Estoril MotoGP record by winning from pole for the third time in succession at the Portuguese circuit on Sunday - but only after catching and passing team-mate Valentino Rossi.
After a weekend of extreme weather, so bad that two of the five MotoGP track sessions were a wash-out, the penultimate round of the 2010 championship was held on a dry track (with a damp patches).
That was something nobody had been able to prepare for, with not a single slick tyre lap completed by any MotoGP rider prior to the race.
The new conditions claimed one high-profile victim even before the start, with Rookie of the Year Ben Spies falling on his way to the grid.
The Monster Yamaha Tech 3 rider was carried from the track on a stretcher after hurting his foot in the highside, ruling him out before the race had even begun. Spies should have started from fifth position.
Starting from a pole position decided by free practice times due to the cancellation of qualifying, new world champion Lorenzo made a strong start to defend his advantage through turn one, with Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden
and Valentino Rossi
Main loser had been Casey Stoner, who got off the line well, but was only seventh out of the first corner. The Ducati rider then made short work of Marco Melandri
and was soon disputing the lead with Hayden, Lorenzo and Rossi.
Hayden had briefly overtaken Lorenzo to lead on lap 2 of 28, but within a lap it was the Fiat Yamaha riders up front, with Rossi in front of Lorenzo and Stoner ahead of Ducati team-mate Hayden.
Rossi quickly pulled a few tenths, while Lorenzo was left facing pressure from Stoner... until the Australian, winner of three of the last four races, crashed out at the final turn on lap 5. It was Stoner's fifth race crash of the year.