Jorge Lorenzo has taken his first MotoGP victory as reigning world champion after an accident-packed Spanish Grand Prix, round two of the 2011 MotoGP World Championship and the first European race of the year.
Rain fell throughout Sunday at Jerez, and got heavier for the MotoGP main event, which was the first wet premier-class race since Sepang, Malaysia, in 2009.
The 17 riders at least had morning warm-up to experience the conditions, when pole sitter Casey Stoner was fastest from twelfth-on-the-grid Valentino Rossi, followed by Andrea Dovizioso, Nicky Hayden and Lorenzo.
Stoner held his start line advantage into turn one, but was unable to break away and lost the lead to Marco Simoncelli on lap 6, with Lorenzo and Rossi right behind him.
Rossi - who had charged his way forwards from eighth on lap one - then passed former team-mate Lorenzo on the following lap.
That put the Italian star directly behind Stoner, and the seven time MotoGP champion launched a rash pass on the Repsol Honda rider into turn one of lap 8.
Rossi came from a long way back, but was able to cut inside Stoner without contact - until he lost the front of his Ducati, sideswiped Stoner and sent them both sliding into the gravel.
Rossi remained on his prone Ducati, which now had Stoner's RCV literally lying on top of it. Yet it was Rossi who got away first, while Stoner was forced to retire - and left fuming at the lack of assistance he received from the marshals.
Rossi rejoined at the back of the field, yet was still able to finish in fifth place due to the number of accidents that followed. The #46 went straight to the Repsol Honda pits after the race to apologise to Stoner.
Stoner, although smiling and accepting Rossi's handshake, said “Your ambition outweighs your talent” during the brief exchange, in which he also asked about Rossi's shoulder.