Sete Gibernau has won a wet Spanish Grand Prix after a perfect ride in treacherous conditions saw the Telefonica Honda rider absorb race long pressure from Max Biaggi, to take his first victory of the season.
Just as Welkom had been a two rider race, so was Jerez, but this time world champion Valentino Rossi
would play only a supporting role after it became clear that his Yamaha didn't have a suitable set-up to fight at the front.
Gibernau led into turn one ahead of the #46, but Biaggi would pass his countryman on lap two and Rossi was soon in the unfamiliar situation of having the likes of Yamaha team-mates Carlos Checa and Marco Melandri
blast past him.
Rossi's M1 simply never looked comfortable on the soaking circuit and after a few relatively minor warnings from the rear wheel, Vale was thrown out of the seat on lap 12 of 27 when his machine tried to highside him.
Although he managed to save it, the mistake cost Rossi fourth as Alex Barros
shot past and - after re-passing a fading Checa - Valentino would spend the remainder of the race trying to hold position.
Rossi's lack of pace left Melandri as top Yamaha and although dropped by the top two Hondas, the Tech 3 rider would hold a strong third until - with 8 laps to go - he fell from what would have been his first MotoGP
podium, handing the position to Barros.
Not that Melandri was alone in falling; the treacherous nature of the circuit meant that Ruben Xaus, Troy Bayliss and Shane Byrne all fell into retirement within the first two laps, while the likes of Capirossi and Fabrizio would run off track before taking the chequered flag.
Meanwhile, having shadowed Gibernau right from lap one, Biaggi outbraked the Catalan for the lead at the halfway point – just as even more rain began to fall. Whether Max simply felt the time was right to pass or was worried that the race would be red flagged remains uncertain, but he would keep the lead for just one lap before running wide and losing the position.
Despite that mistake, Biaggi remained locked to the #15's rear wheel as the pair pulled further and further away from field - and with eight laps remaining the battling duo held a 27secs lead over third placed Barros. That would almost double by the end.