Casey Stoner said his run to victory in the Catalunya Grand Prix was a 'high pressure' experience as the threat of rain at the Barcelona track kept him on his toes throughout.
With clouds gathering over the circuit and light rain falling in parts of the lap around half-distance, it looked at one stage like the field would have to pit to change to their wet-shod bikes. In the event, the rain held off and Stoner was able to hold his lead to the flag.
"I managed to build up a bit of a gap and felt comfortable doing that, and then the race came, so that put everything out," said Honda rider Stoner, who had passed Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo to take the lead at the end of the first lap.
"I was starting to get very nervous. There was more rain falling in some parts, and each lap you came by there was a little bit more or a little bit less and you didn't really know which corner it was going to be raining heavily on.
"I didn't really know what pace to run, I didn't know how bad the conditions were. So I pretty much matched myself to the people behind, and it seemed to work. But it was a high pressure race and to stay at the front was a little bit nerve-wracking.
"It would have been very easy to come down in those conditions but we managed to keep it on two wheels and bring it home."
The Australian said he had been confident he had the race pace to win after topping all three practice sessions and only narrowly missing out on pole to Marco Simoncelli in qualifying, and had just tried to control the race.
"We knew we had pretty good race pace – the bike, tires and everything were working pretty well for us on the hard compound all weekend," Stoner said. "We wanted to get to the front, so I tried to pass Jorge a couple of times, but he was braking quite hard on the first lap so we managed to get a better exit coming onto the main straight and got past Jorge quite easily.
"Then for the rest of the laps I thought I'd just try and hold the pace where it was in qualifying and get some consistent laps out while the tires were good, because we have a lot of degradation on this track and we knew we were going to struggle a little bit more at the end of the race."