The drama started early when the race was forced to re-start as issues with Cardion AB Racing’s Karel Abraham forced a re-start. Pole-sitter Dani Pedrosa was also forced to start at the back of the grid when issues with his front tire-warmer left the Spaniard unable to catch the safety car.
Disaster further struck for Pedrosa when he was taken out in the first few turns by Pramac Racing’s Hector Barbera and both ridera were forced to retire from the race. Karel Abraham, Cal Crutchlow and Speed Master’s Mattia Pasini would also fall in the opening laps.
Meanwhile, Valentino Rossi and LCR Honda’s Stefan Bradl off to an excellent start, followed Jorge Lorenzo.
Yamaha Tech 3’s Andrea Dovizioso was pacing Bradl, while San Carlo Gresini’s Alvaro Bautista took Factory Yamaha’s Ben Spies for fifth.
With 12 laps remaining, Bautista had caught up to Dovizioso and had made a move to take fourth, behind Stafan Bradl. A man on a mission, Bautista then overtook Bradl for third position with 10 laps remaining.
As Lorenzo increased his lead out front, in a surprise effort in front of his hometown crowd, Valentino Rossi gave Italians something to cheer for as he rode comfortably in second place. The battle for the third and final spot on the podium heated up as Dovizioso started to close the gap on Bautista. With less than one lap remaining, Dovizioso was all over the San Carlo Gresini rider, looking to pass at every opportunity. Bautista shut the door on several turns, and the battle for third came down to a dramatic near-photo finish as the two riders raced neck-and-neck to cross the line. It was Alvaro Bautista who came out on top to take his first ever MotoGP podium. Andrea Dovizioso settled for fourth, with Ben Spies (5th), Stefan Bradl (6th), Nicky Hayden (7th) and Honda’s Jonathon Rea finished in a very respectable 8th place finish in his MotoGP debut, racing for Casey Stoner on the Repsol Honda. Randy de Puniet was the top CRT bike, finishing in 9th, followed by San Carlo Gresini’s Michele Pirro, rounding out the top ten.
Jorge Lorenzo now leads the series 38 points clear of Dani Pedrosa and looks to be the championship favourite for 2012.