Andrea Dovizioso has taken his first MotoGP victory in the last British round to be held at Donington Park, before a 2010 switch to Silverstone, after a dramatic race in unpredictable weather that saw title leaders Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo both crash from the lead and two satellite riders on the podium.
After a wet warm-up and 125cc race, then dry 250cc race, light rain began falling intermittently as the MotoGP grid assembled, raising huge questions over tyre choice.
Ultimately, all but Casey Stoner (4th) and Nicky Hayden (15th) went for slicks, with the factory Ducati riders gambling on wets, a huge risk for third in the championship Stoner.
When the red lights went out Rossi held his pole position into turn one, but Lorenzo barged past as they dived down Craner Curves for the first time. Toni Elias, who began eighth on grid, demoted Rossi a further position soon after, then launched an instant attack on fellow Spaniard Lorenzo.
Elias kept his Gresini Honda at the front of the field until lap 3 of 30, when Dovizioso - who had been fourth, just behind Rossi, at the end of lap one - took the lead under braking for the Fogarty Esses.
Dovi held the lead for less than a lap before Lorenzo put his Fiat Yamaha back ahead, by which time a five-strong lead group - of Lorenzo, Dovizioso, Rossi, Dani Pedrosa and Elias - were putting asphalt between themselves and the battle for sixth between James Toseland, Randy de Puniet, Marco Melandri, Alex de Angelis, Loris Capirossi and Mika Kallio.
Meanwhile, the Ducati Marlboro gamble hadn't paid off, with Stoner and Hayden already at the tail of the field, and Colin Edwards only just in front of them...
The lead group was reduced to four when Elias was pitched off his RC212V at high-speed through the Schwantz curve on lap 8, moments after overtaking Pedrosa for fourth.
The accident happened when Elias clipped a wet white line and the same mistake produced the same outcome for race leader Lorenzo, just one lap later, when the double 2009 race winner's M1 suddenly collapsed under him as he hit the brakes into the final turn.
That left just Rossi and Dovizioso up front, with Pedrosa six seconds back - and being rapidly reeled-in by de Puniet.