After dropping to fifth in the early stages of his home Spanish Grand Prix, Jorge Lorenzo clawed his way back towards the front of the field - then snatched victory from arch-rival Dani Pedrosa with half a lap to go!

Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa had converted his pole into a turn one lead, then steadily edged away from reigning world champion Valentino Rossi to hold a seemingly solid two-second advantage by the time Lorenzo took second place away from his team-mate, with six laps to go.

Unlike countryman Pedrosa, Lorenzo had never won in the MotoGP class at Jerez and he threw everything he had into catching the #26. Lorenzo hacked half a second out of Pedrosa each lap and was in a position to strike with two to go.

The 122,000 fans were on their feet as the pair appeared to make contact through the Dry Sack hairpin at the end of the back straight on the penultimate lap, with Lorenzo then diving for an ambitious around-the-outside move at the final turn (pictured) - which again resulted in bumping between the pair.

But the 2009 title runner-up's last-lap victory pass was perfectly executed, gliding his M1 past Pedrosa on the brakes into the Dry Sack, with Pedrosa running wide and losing any chance of retaliation - although Lorenzo took a defensive line into the final turn just to be sure.

The sixth victory of Lorenzo's young career also means he has taken the world championship lead from Rossi, who looked to have no answer for Pedrosa while in second - but also upped his pace in the closing laps to cross the line just 0.89sec from victory.

Rossi was riding with an injured shoulder, sustained in a motocross accident two weeks' ago, while Lorenzo - who finished second to Rossi at Qatar - had previously been battling a hand fracture sustained under similar circumstances before the start of the season.

Lorenzo was euphoric in victory, planting his signature 'Lorenzo's Land' flag into the gravel and even jumping into a lake before returning to parc ferme.

Despite a bitter defeat, the big improver relative to Qatar was Pedrosa, who had only managed seventh in round one after stability problems with his factory Honda.

The eight time MotoGP winner had insisted the 'shaking' remained, even after taking pole, but he is clearly far more competitive and will use the test on Monday to try further new parts.

Behind the top three, Nicky Hayden beat factory Ducati team-mate Casey Stoner for the first time in a race they have both finished. The American matched his round one result of fourth, but was disappointed to be much further from victory, while Stoner - just one second behind Hayden - felt his pace just hadn't improved enough throughout the weekend.

Sixth and 23sec from victory was Pedrosa's team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, with Mika Kallio putting in a stunning ride from 17th and last to seventh for Pramac Ducati. The Finn was also the top satellite rider, although he finished just a few tenths clear of San Carlo Honda Gresini's Marci Melandri, who was looking more like his old self.

LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet suffered with a bad start on his way to ninth, with Alvaro Bautista the top rookie home, in tenth place for Rizla Suzuki and just a few tenths clear of Melandri's team-mate Marco Simoncelli.

Five of the last six riders to finish were rookies, the exception behind Monster Yamaha Tech 3's Colin Edwards, who could only manage twelfth place - between Simoncelli and Aspar Ducati's Hector Barbera.

Edwards' team-mate and reigning World Superbike champion Ben Spies suffered his first DNF as a MotoGP rider after a mysterious front tyre problem prompted him to pull into the pits at the end of lap nine. Spies had made a strong start to hold sixth on lap one before dropping back.

Loris Capirossi crashed from his Rizla Suzuki while eighth at the end of lap eight, while Pramac Ducati's Aleix Espargaro made a pit stop for repairs before continuing.

Spanish Grand Prix:

1. Lorenzo
2. Pedrosa
3. Rossi
4. Hayden
5. Stoner
6. Dovizioso
7. Kallio
8. Melandri
9. de Puniet
10. Bautista
11. Simoncelli
12. Edwards
13. Barbera
14. Aoyama
15. Espargaro