The fight for third would capture the attention for the remaining four laps, with Gibernau going all out to break Hayden, unsuccessfully, and the last lap would begin with the Catalan just 0.15secs ahead of the Repsol rider, and Ukawa just 0.5secs back.
Hayden dived inside with a brave move at Siberia, then defended against a fightback over Lukey Heights and the following MG right hand corner, before hanging on through the long left handers that lead onto the home straight– to take a much deserved first 'real' podium by just 0.041secs.
But some 12-seconds ahead of them Rossi was already beginning his celebrations – grabbing a #7 Barry Sheene flag to carry around his slow down lap, while a confused Capirossi (he never realised Rossi had a penalty) smoked his Ducati's rear wheel in style out of the final turn to take second, 15secs behind the Honda rider on track, but 5secs back in the official results.
Ukawa enjoyed his best race of the season to take fifth, just 0.2secs behind Gibernau, while Jacque pipped Nakano to be top Yamaha with sixth. Checa duly took eighth ahead of Roberts while Bridgestone riders Tamada and McWilliams finished tenth and eleventh respectively.
Hopkins rode a strong final part of the race to beat his good friend Garry McCoy
for thirteenth, while Noriyuki Haga and Andrew Pitt
completed the point's finishers.
Further back, WCM's Chris Burns finally finished his first ever MotoGP, in 20th position.
Full results to follow...