Ben Spies has taken his first ever MotoGP
victory with a dominant performance in Saturday's Dutch TT at Assen.
The Texan became the first former World Superbike rider to win a MotoGP
race since Troy Bayliss in 2006, by converting his first front-row start of the year into the lead at turn one, then bolting away from the field.
Spies' cause was helped when pole sitter Marco Simoncelli's nightmare run of race-day incidents continued as he highsided after just a few corners - while passing Jorge Lorenzo
for second place at the hairpin - taking a furious Lorenzo down with him.
That incident put clear air between Spies and world championship leader Casey Stoner, one of many riders to struggle with a lack of heat in the rear tyre this weekend.
While the Repsol Honda rider was still building up grip in the cool (but dry) conditions, Spies was flat out - and held a 3.5sec lead after just three laps.
Stoner later began matching Spies, but by then the Factory Yamaha rider - in his second season of grand prix - could afford to measure his advantage over the Australian.
champion Spies, who had only taken one podium from the first six rounds of the year, guided his special red-and-white M1 to victory by 7.697sec over Stoner at the end of the 26 laps.
Stoner's Repsol Honda team-mate Andrea Dovizioso
quickly dropped away from Stoner, but his third place was never under serious threat.
Valentino Rossi's first race on the Ducati Desmosedici GP11.1 - which combines this year's 800cc engine with next year's (1000cc) chassis and a new seamless transmission gearbox - saw the Italian megastar rise from eleventh on the grid to fifth at the end of lap one.
The seven-time MotoGP
champion then passed Cal Crutchlow for fourth, a position he held for the rest of the race, finishing three-seconds behind countryman Dovizioso - but over 30sec from victory.