Italy’s Valentino Rossi won his 99th career MotoGP race at the Catalunya Grand Prix overnight (NZT) after overtaking his Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo on the last corner and within sight of the chequered flag.
Rossi finished in 43min 11.897sec to beat Lorenzo by 0.095sec. Casey Stoner finished third. The trio are now tied on 106 points in the overall standings.
“I’m happy, very happy. I congratulate Jorge, he gave me one hell of a final lap,” said Rossi.
Lorenzo, who had started in pole position, traded the lead several times with Rossi in a hard-fought head-to-head race.
“I didn’t expect him to overtake me on the last bend,” Lorenzo said. “He was very brave.”
Yuki Takahashi fell and hit the crash barrier hard in the opening lap, and Toni Elias lost grip on his rear tire and fell into the gravel.
The big talking point of the day was the finish in the 125cc category, where race leader Julian Simon mistakenly started celebrating after crossing the finish line with one lap still to go.
That allowed Andrea Iannone to seize the lead and the victory, with Simon not realising his mistake until he saw his crew gesticulating to him to carry on racing.
“I reacted too hastily, I thought I’d seen the final lap marker on the start of the lap but should have known better when I didn’t see the chequered flag when I crossed the line,” Simon said.
Simon recovered to finish fourth, and leads the overall standings with 84 points, ahead of Bradley Smith with 82.5.
Iannone finished in 41 minutes, 10.494 seconds ahead of Nico Terol and Sergio Gadea.
Alvaro Bautista won the 250cc class in 41:09.018 seconds and extended his championship lead to 12 points after defending champion Marco Simoncelli abandoned the race after falling on the third lap.
RESULTS from the Spanish GP:
1. Valentino ROSSI (Yamaha), 25 laps, 43:11.897
2. Jorge LORENZO (Yamaha), -0.095 second
3. Casey STONER (Ducati), -8.884 seconds
4. Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Honda), -8.936
5. Loris CAPIROSSI (Suzuki), -19.831
6. Dani PEDROSA (Honda), -22.182
7. Colin EDWARDS (Yamaha), -23.547
8. Randy DE PUNIET (Honda), -25.265
9. Mika KALLIO (Ducati), -31.797
10. Nicky HAYDEN (Ducati), -33.593
11. Chris VERMEULEN (Suzuki), -36.683
12. Alex DE ANGELIS (Honda), -36.874
13. James TOSELAND (Yamaha), -39.433
14. Marco MELANDRI (Kawasaki), -44.788
15. Sete GIBERNAU (Ducati), -46.754
16. Niccolo CANEPA (Ducati), -55.873
17. Gabor TALMACSI (Honda), -87.640
18. Toni ELIAS (Honda), -16 laps, DNF, crash
19. Yuki TAKAHASHI (Honda), -25 laps, DNF, crash
LEADING standings after six rounds:
1 Valentino Rossi 106.0
2 Casey Stoner 106.0
3 Jorge Lorenzo 106.0
4 Andrea Dovizioso 69.0
5 Daniel Pedrosa 67.0
6 Colin Edwards 54.0
7 Marco Melandri 50.0
8 Loris Capirossi 49.0
9 Randy De Puniet 42.0
10 Chris Vermeulen 42.0
11 James Toseland 29.0
12 Mika Kallio 26.0
13 Alex De Angelis 25.0
14 Toni Elias 23.0
15 Nicky Hayden 19.0
16 Niccolo Canepa 10.0
17 Sete Gibernau 9.0
18 Yuki Takahashi 8.0