Just 13 points separate Dani Pedrosa from championship leader Jorge Lorenzo after Pedrosa won a thrilling Czech Republic Grand Prix today, the two rivals fighting it out for the entire 22 laps of the Brno Circuit.
With 10 laps to go, Pedrosa and the Repsol Honda took the lead for the first time and it appeared as though Lorenzo was happy enough to just sit there. With two laps to go, Lorenzo started to make some moves and in the stadium section on the final lap the Yamaha man made his pass. But Pedrosa wasn't done yet and he forced his way past with just a few corners remaining with Lorenzo running wide in the penultimate corner with one final grasp at victory.
When the pair crossed the finish line it was Pedrosa scoring his third win of the season by .178 of a second. The pair is now separated by 13 points with Lorenzo leading 245-232 after a truly scintillating race at the top.
Some 12 seconds behind came Cal Crutchlow, the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider earning the first podium of his career and becoming the first Brit since Jeremy McWilliams in 2000 to stand on a MotoGP podium. Crutchlow, who signed a one-year extension with the team this week, beat his teammate Andrea Dovizioso by some six seconds.
LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl got the better of an early race scrap with San Carlo Honda's Alvaro Bautista to claim fifth with Ducati's Valentino Rossi slotting in behind the two Hondas to finish a lonely seventh.
Power Electronics Aspar's Randy de Puniet was eighth and the first of the CRT bikes, beating local Karel Abraham's Cardio AB Motoracing Ducati. De Puniet's teammate Aleix Espargaro rounded out the top 10.
Texan Colin Edwards ended the day in 13th.
It was another miserable day at the office for Ben Spies, the factory Yamaha rider frying his clutch off the start. He dropped back immediately into the throws of the CRT pack before getting things sorted out. He then went on a charge before crashing out of eighth place.
"Smoked the clutch off the line," Spies said on his Twitter feed. "By the time she came back I thought top five or nothing. Gravel was on the menu today!"
1. Dani Pedrosa (Honda)
2. Jorge Lorenzo (Yamaha)
3. Cal Crutchlow (Yamaha)
4. Andrea Dovizioso (Yamaha)
5. Stefan Bradl (Honda)
6. Alvaro Bautista (Honda)
7. Valentino Rossi (Ducati)
8. Randy de Puniet (ART)
9. Karel Abraham (Ducati)
10. Aleix Espargaro (ART)