Casey Stoner says winning at Jerez for the first time in his MotoGP career was a "very special" moment in light of changing conditions and a return of the arm pump that plagued him in Qatar.
Stoner had only qualified fifth on Saturday, more than one second down on Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa, but with improved feeling on the RC213V he was able to move into the lead within the opening three laps.
He was never able to break free of Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo – winner at Jerez for the past two seasons – but hung on even as arm pump problems returned to collect his first victory of 2012.
"Considering the weekend in general and how fast Dani and Jorge are at this track, to win here is something very special for me," Stoner said. "We managed the race for the conditions of the circuit and as they improved I pushed a little more, the bike on a whole felt much better than in qualifying. I did get some arm pump again but thankfully not to the extent I had it in Qatar.
"[At the] start I tried to stay out of trouble, there were people outbraking each other, touching and it was important just to keep out of the way. Then I managed to gain a lot of positions in a short space of time and reached the front.
"I didn't try to pull a gap, as I knew Jorge and Dani were very fast, but I just wanted to stay in front with them and pull away from the others. Then I saw that Jorge and I had slightly better pace and we could make a gap."
Pedrosa was initially a feature in the fight for victory, but a brief slump – which he explained was borne out of excessive caution – resulted in him losing touch with the leaders.
"It's been a strange race for me," Pedrosa said. "On the grid I thought it might not be a completely dry race so I was very cautious at the beginning, also after we saw so many crashes in the first laps of Moto3 and Moto2. So I started well but I was passed and then I lost too much time with [Andrea] Dovizioso and [Nicky] Hayden.
"When I managed to overtake them and take the third position, Casey and Jorge were already too far in front, four seconds ahead. So I put my head down and started increasing my pace but at the same time it was difficult to keep the concentration because [Cal] Crutchlow was on a hard front tire and he was pushing me a lot, braking harder in the last laps.
"In general, I feel happy with my performance on a really tricky weekend. A second- and a third-position finish is not the best, but it's a good start to the season."