Having been beaten to pole position by rookie countryman and arch-rival Jorge Lorenzo, Pedrosa wasted no time in getting around the Fiat Yamaha rider on the run to turn one, and was never headed.

Pedrosa, third at the Qatar season opener despite missing most of pre-season testing due to a hand injury, went on to take his first MotoGP Jerez victory by a comfortable 2.883secs ahead of Valentino Rossi - after backing off in the closing stages of the 27 laps - as even the great Italian could do nothing to dent Pedrosa's relentless charge.

Despite an embarrassing error - in which he celebrated second position one lap before the actual race had ended - Rossi realised his mistake just in time to keep hold of the runner-up spot and went on to finally celebrate his 100th premier-class podium, and first ever with Bridgestone tyres.

Despite an amazing qualifying performance, in which he took his second MotoGP pole in as many attempts by 0.6secs, Lorenzo was unable to match Pedrosa in the early laps - although he remained in touch with Rossi for the rest of the race and kept his perfect MotoGP podium record intact.

Lorenzo and Pedrosa did shake hands after the race - although only after being prompted to do so by King Juan Carlos himself, just before they stepped out onto the podium.

Pedrosa and Lorenzo are now first and second in the 2008 world championship standings, after Qatar winner Casey Stoner - up from seventh to third on the opening lap - ran off track on lap three and dropped to the back of the field.

At a circuit ill-suited to his Desmosedici, the world champion was fighting Nakano for tenth with five laps to go - only to run off track at exactly the same place, at the end of the back straight, after contact between them. Stoner eventually finished 11th and is now fourth in the championship, one point behind Rossi and eleven from Pedrosa.

Pedrosa's team-mate Nicky Hayden had been closing down on the Fiat Yamaha riders during the second half of the race, but a turn one scare with six laps to go - in which he mimicked countryman Colin Edwards' dramatic qualifying save - allowed the Spaniard vital breathing room.

The fight for fifth was much closer, with Andrea Dovizioso, James Toseland, Loris Capirossi and John Hopkins all battling for the position heading into the final turn.

Capirossi, the most experienced rider in the field, took advantage of the barging to lead the quartet over the line on his second Rizla Suzuki ride, while Toseland claimed sixth and Hopkins passed an off-line Dovizioso on the dash to the flag.

Despite suffering from bronchitis all weekend, Toseland thus repeated his Qatar debut result - and reinforced his fast growing reputation as a hard racer by making several rivals literally 'sit-up' as he forced his way through.

Tech 3 Yamaha team-mate Edwards was less fortunate, the Texan crashing out of sixth position on lap five as he pushed hard to recover ground after slipping thee places at the start. Honda LCR's Randy de Puniet was the only other rider not to reach the chequered flag.

Spanish Grand Prix:

1. Pedrosa
2. Rossi
3. Lorenzo
4. Hayden
5. Capirossi
6. Toseland
7. Hopkins
8. Dovizioso
9. Nakano
10. Vermeulen
11. Stoner
12. Melandri
13. West
14. de Angelis
15. Elias
16. Guintoli