Spain’s Dani Pedrosa passed pole winner Ben Spies on the eighth lap of the Indianapolis MotoGP and pulled away for his third victory of the season Sunday.
In contrast, Pedrosa, the 2009 pole winner, crashed early in last year’s race and never had a chance.
But this time, he made it look easy and American rider Spies had to settle for second.
Championship points leader Jorge Lorenzo, also of Spain, was third for his worst finish of the season.
Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) worked his way up from fourth on lap one and took the lead by accelerating past Spies on the main straight on lap 8 of 28, then rode to a comfortable 3.575-second victory.
After being overtaken, star rookie Spies held his own in second place for the rest of the race, marking his best ever grand prix finish and second podium of the year, after a third at Silverstone.
Keeping his podium record intact, Lorenzo crossed the line 3.237sec from 2011 team-mate Spies and 5.821sec in front of present Fiat Yamaha colleague Valentino Rossi.
Lorenzo will take a reduced 68-point lead over nearest title rival Pedrosa into next weekend’s Misano round.
World champion Rossi, who had fallen three times this weekend and qualified just seventh, rebuilt his confidence in the race and got stronger as the race went on – rising from sixth at the end of lap one to take fourth place, ahead of Pedrosa’s team-mate Andrea Dovizioso, on lap 21.
The day’s biggest race was overshadowed by news that 13-year-old Peter Lenz, from of Vancouver, Washington, had died after crashing and being run over by another motorcycle in the first race of the day.
Despite being only 13 years old and listing his profession as “kid,” Lenz was already a well-known racer. He had been riding bikes for six years, won nine national championships and nine regional titles, and appeared to be a rising star in a series that bills itself as a prep for riders 12 to 18 who hope to compete at a higher level.
Those races are not typically held in conjunction with MotoGP events.
RESULTS FROM ROUND 11:
1. Dani Pedrosa ESP Repsol Honda Team 47m 31.615s
2. Ben Spies USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 47m 35.190s
3. Jorge Lorenzo ESP Fiat Yamaha Team 47m 38.427s
4. Valentino Rossi ITA Fiat Yamaha Team 47m 44.248s
5. Andrea Dovizioso ITA Repsol Honda Team 47m 53.500s
6. Nicky Hayden USA Ducati Marlboro Team 48m 6.753s
7. Marco Simoncelli ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini 48m 8.355s
8. Alvaro Bautista ESP Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 48m 8.440s
9. Aleix Espargaro ESP Pramac Racing 48m 16.52s
10. Hector Barbera ESP Paginas Amarillas Aspar 48m 22.983s
11. Loris Capirossi ITA Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 48m 27.001s
12. Hiroshi Aoyama JPN Interwetten Honda MotoGP 48m 29.518s
13. Randy de Puniet FRA LCR Honda MotoGP 48m 35.754s
Mika Kallio FIN Pramac Racing
Colin Edwards USA Monster Yamaha Tech 3
Casey Stoner AUS Ducati Marlboro Team
Marco Melandri ITA San Carlo Honda Gresini
2010 MOTOGP RIDERS’ CHAMPIONSHIP
1 Jorge Lorenzo Fiat Yamaha Team 251
2 Dani Pedrosa Repsol Honda Team 183
3 Andrea Dovizioso Repsol Honda Team 126
4 Casey Stoner Ducati Marlboro Team 119
5 Valentino Rossi Fiat Yamaha Team 114
6 Ben Spies Monster Yamaha Tech3 110
7 Nicky Hayden Ducati Marlboro Team 109
8 Randy de Puniet LCR Honda 78
9 Marco Simoncelli San Carlo Honda Gresini 63
10 Marco Melandri San Carlo Honda Gresini 61
11 Colin Edwards Monster Yamaha Tech3 57
12 Hector Barbera Aspar Racing Team 54
13 Loris Capirossi Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 41
14 Alex Espargaro Pramac Racing Team 39
15 Alvaro Bautista Rizla Suzuki MotoGP 33
16 Mika Kallio Pramac Racing Team 31
17 Hiroshi Aoyama Interwetten Honda MotoGP 22
18 Alex de Angelis Interwetten Honda 11
19 Roger Lee Hayden LCR Honda 5
20 Kousuke Akiyoshi Interwetten Honda MotoGP 4
21 Wataru Yoshikawa Fiat Yamaha Team 1