Marco, riding with Andrea Dovizioso's helmet after suffering vision problems with his own in the wet at Estoril, built his pace up from a steady start to finish as the top Honda rider - the excellent young Italian claiming his second podium from three RCV races and moving into second in the world championship standings, 25-points behind Rossi, in the process.
Gibernau would hang on to cross the line fourth, just 0.6secs in front of Biaggi's Repsol Honda, with van den Goorbergh a further two-seconds back for an excellent sixth - a result that Tamada, arguably, would have struggled to better today.
After his spectacular start Hopkins looked to have settled into fourth before running wide on lap 6, dropping the 21-year-old to 11th. He would fight back to seventh at the finish, one position ahead of countryman Colin Edwards.
Nicky Hayden was never a contender today and crossed the line ninth, one place clear of Xaus, while Loris Capirossi was the lone factory Ducati finisher in 12th – the Italian sitting 9secs ahead of WCM's James Ellison, who recorded his second points finish in a row with thirteenth, in front of Elias, Moriwaki wild-card Tohru Ukawa and D'Antin Ducati's Roby Rolfo.
Joining Roberts on the DNF list were Checa, Nakano, Bayliss and Battaini – all but Nakano were caught out by the conditions, while the Japanese was forced to pit with technical troubles.
Chinese Grand Prix:
6. van den Goorbergh