Pedrosa reigns in Spain to take GP
WELCOME back, Dani Pedrosa.
The MotoGP veteran turned on the kind of performance we have not regularly seen from him in several seasons, utterly annihilating the opposition to win the Spanish Grand Prix and thrust himself right into championship contention.
Pedrosa beat teammate Marc Marquez off the line, pulled a margin and maintained throughout the 27-lap race, the 3000th in history across all classes of the motorcycle world championship.
Just as delighted was the third-place finisher, Jorge Lorenzo claiming a joyous first podium for Ducati on home soil.
In contrast, the race was dire for Valentino Rossi.
The No. 46 Yamaha failed to mesh with the hot conditions and Michelin's hard rubber, Rossi plummeting from podium contention to 10th place by the chequered flag.
The result was just enough to allow him to cling to the world championship lead by two points over teammate Maverick Vinales, who finished sixth, with Marquez a further four adrift and Pedrosa's victory leaving him just 10 points off the lead.
While the Repsol Hondas were running away at the front, it was Johann Zarco who again stole the show in the early laps.
The French rookie used medium tyres front and rear to carve his way forward, passing Vinales, Cal Crutchlow and Andrea Iannone in the space of just one lap to move onto Marquez's tail.
He even briefly took second place, before eventually fading to fourth behind Lorenzo.
Australian Jack Miller's stellar weekend came to a crashing halt on Lap 5, taken out by Alvaro Bautista while battling for 11th.
Miller let the Spaniard know his frustrations, shoving Bautista back to the ground and giving his Ducati a kick.
They weren't alone in visiting the gravel.
Cal Crutchlow crashed out of a comfortable fourth place through the fast Turn 11, Pol Espargaro tumbling off his KTM in the same spot just a few moments later.
Miller's Marc VDS teammate Tito Rabat also went down, as did Iannone.