Dani Pedrosa put an end to a barren run of form by claiming his first MotoGP victory of the 2016 season in Sunday’s San Marino Grand Prix.
Honda rider Pedrosa entered the race weekend at Misano with just two podium finishes to his name so far this year, having failed to match the pace of teammate and championship leader Marc Marquez throughout the season.
Pedrosa’s malaise appeared to continue in qualifying at Misano on Saturday when he could only finish eighth, trailing far behind pole-sitter Jorge Lorenzo.
Lorenzo retained his lead off the line despite coming under pressure from future Yamaha replacement Maverick Vinales, but soon had current teammate Valentino Rossi fixed to the rear of his bike.
Rossi made his move on the second lap, boldly diving down the inside to seize the lead and send the grandstands draped in yellow in support of the Italian into raptures.
Further back, Pedrosa began his charge. After picking off Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso and Suzuki rider Vinales, the Spaniard began to gain time hand-over-fist and catch Marquez in third place.
After sweeping past Marquez, Pedrosa then made light work of Lorenzo in second place before cutting into Rossi’s lead heading into the final 10 laps of the race.
In a similar move to the one that Rossi pulled on Lorenzo, Pedrosa threw his bike down the inside and forced the Yamaha racer out wide, forcing him to yield and drop into second place.
From there, Pedrosa didn’t look back. With the warmer temperatures suiting his tire selection, the Spaniard moved clear to score his first win of the season on Rossi’s stomping ground. The result also saw Pedrosa become MotoGP’s eighth different winner in the past eight races.
Rossi crossed the line second ahead, cutting the gap to Marquez at the top of the riders’ championship down to 43 points, while Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the podium.
Marquez crossed the line fourth ahead of Vinales and Dovizioso, with Michele Pirro finishing seventh as a stand-in for the injured Andrea Iannone. Cal Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista rounded out the top 10.
MotoGP returns in two weeks’ time at Motorland Aragon in Spain.