Jorge Lorenzo moved into a commanding MotoGP championship lead by winning a San Marino Grand Prix in which Dani Pedrosa's ambitions were dealt a devastating blow.
After a start procedure which at times verged on farce, the Honda rider was forced to start from the back of the grid, rather than the pole slot he had secured in qualifying.
By the first turn he was already 12th, but by the second he was out, sent flying as Pramac's Hector Barbera made contact with his rear. Lorenzo, starting from second, was therefore able to cruise to victory almost totally unopposed, moving into a 38-point championship lead with just five races to go.
After the shock of Pedrosa's exit, there was some cheer at least for the home fans as Valentino Rossi captured his first dry podium for Ducati on his final home-soil race for the team. The Italian recalled celebrations of old as he sprinted across the gravel trap to rejoice in front of his home fans.
Rossi had initially been shadowed by LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl, but the German faded to sixth late in the race. Rossi too had feared he could do the same, but Ducati's new updates helped him maintain his pace as Bradl slipped back, and he eventually sealed second.
The fight for the final podium spot boiled down to a great dice between Gresini's Alvaro Bautista and Tech 3 Yamaha's Andrea Dovizioso. Bautista edged it in a photo finish across the line, earning his first podium of the year. Such highs were matched by the low of Pedrosa's devastating early exit, which followed an unfortunate sequence of early events.
The first start was abandoned just as the lights were due to go out, leading to general confusion and a small delay. Pedrosa then had an issue restarting for the second warm-up lap and failed to do so before the safety car departed, forcing him to start from the back – the basis for his exit as he attempted to fight his way back up the order.
Also crashing out was front-row qualifier Cal Crutchlow, who dropped back at the start and then fell on lap five while running fifth.
Results - 27 laps:
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap
1. Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha 42m49.836s
2. Valentino Rossi Ducati + 4.398s
3. Alvaro Bautista Gresini Honda + 6.055s
4. Andrea Dovizioso Tech 3 Yamaha + 6.058s
5. Ben Spies Yamaha + 7.543s
6. Stefan Bradl LCR Honda + 13.272s
7. Nicky Hayden Ducati + 40.907s
8. Jonathan Rea Honda + 43.162s
9. Randy de Puniet Aspar Aprilia + 1m09.627s
10. Michele Pirro Gresini FTR-Honda + 1m13.605s
11. Colin Edwards Forward Suter-BMW + 1m16.695s
12. Yonny Hernandez Avintia FTR-Kawasaki + 1m19.073s
13. James Ellison Paul Bird Aprilia + 1m19.408s
14. Danilo Petrucci Ioda Suter-BMW + 1 lap
15. David Salom Avintia FTR-Kawasaki + 1 lap
Aleix Espargaro Aspar Aprilia 23 laps
Cal Crutchlow Tech 3 Yamaha 4 laps
Mattia Pasini Speed Master Aprilia 1 lap
Hector Barbera Pramac Ducati 0 laps
Dani Pedrosa Honda 0 laps
Karel Abraham Cardion Ducati 0 laps