Biaggi then crossed the line for third, while Rossi wheelied his way to fourth – the world champion keeping a happy exterior despite being off the podium for the second race in succession, and being beaten by team-mate Checa.
Edwards finally overcame the challenge of Melandri to claim fifth, but didn't look particularly pleased with his best finish of the year so far, while Barros, Bayliss, Tamada and Capirossi completed the top ten.
Hayden never looked on form and after his top five start slipped down the order to an eventual eleventh, having run off track on lap 13, while countryman Kenny Roberts brought the one remaining Suzuki home in twelfth.
McWilliams was given a jump start penalty but still took thirteenth for Aprilia, while Xaus and Kurtis Roberts would take their first MotoGP points.
Joining Hodgson, Abe and Hopkins on the DNF list were both Kawasakis and WCM's Chris Burns.
12. Kenny Roberts
15. Kurtis Roberts