Ready to win … Casey Stoner rediscovered his form on the Repsol Honda for his first win in Spain. Photo: Getty Images
Australia’s defending world champion Casey Stoner won his first Spanish MotoGP in Jerez, describing it as the greatest race he’s ever ridden.
The Honda rider beat home Spain’s 2010 world champion Jorge Lorenzo on a Yamaha while another Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was third on a Honda in his 100th race.
English rider Cal Crutchlow just failed to edge out Pedrosa for third and recorded his second successive fourth place.
Lorenzo - who was left frustrated in his bid to become the first rider since Valentino Rossi in 2001 to win the first two races - retains his lead in the overall standings after winning the race opener in Qatar where Stoner finished third.
Stoner, though, was ecstatic at his victory on a track which he has said he hates and where he had only previously finished on the podium once.
‘‘That is the greatest race I’ve ever done,’’ said the 26-year-old, who extended his run of 17 successive podium finishes.
‘‘I had a poor start and the conditions were dodgy at first but the bike was working fantastic.
‘‘However, having taken the lead I felt my arm start to pump and I thought, oh no!
‘‘Thankfully when I saw the two laps to go marker more blood seemed to flow through my arm and I felt a lot better and strong enough to hold on.’’
Lorenzo said he had desperately wanted to deliver victory to his home fans.
‘‘Sadly I was not strong enough today and Casey rode a remarkable race,’’ he said.
Pedrosa took the lead on the first corner ahead of Lorenzo while Crutchlow overtook Hayden but the Englishman fell back to fifth by the end of the lap.
Stoner produced a wonderful manoeuvre with 25 laps remaining and overtook Pedrosa and Lorenzo to take the lead.
Stoner and Lorenzo had opened up a bit of a gap on third-placed American Nicky Hayden with 22 laps to go, while Pedrosa was struggling to make an impact back in fifth and finding it difficult to pass Andrea Dovizioso.
Two laps later, though, down the straight Pedrosa at last found the speed to move smoothly past both Dovizioso and Hayden to go third but the Spaniard was almost three seconds adrift of Lorenzo.
Lorenzo gradually put the pressure on Stoner and with eight laps remaining the Spaniard was right on the shoulder of the Australian, only to make an error on a corner with six laps to go.
Pedrosa also was starting to cut into the gap with the front two while Crutchlow was impressing in fourth and setting fastest laps at will as he tried to get onto the podium.
However, Stoner fought off Lorenzo’s challenge by posting the fastest time on the penultimate lap while Pedrosa’s charge petered out as he focused instead on holding off Crutchlow.