Hiroshi Aoyama has taken a commanding victory in the 250cc British Grand Prix at a drying Donington Park.
The Japanese rider had a perfect race that saw him take the lead within the first lap, open a large gap over the rest of the field despite the changing track conditions causing degradation to the wet tyres everyone was on, then manage his lead in the closing laps.
The Scot Honda rider started from third on the grid and was fourth at the first corner, but he quickly overtook rivals Marco Simoncelli, Alex Debon and polesitter Hector Barbera to lead by the start of lap 2.
In the first eight laps his lead had opened to six seconds already, and the man following him was Alvaro Bautista, who made a great recovery from eighth at the end of lap 1.
With 12 laps remaining in the 27-lap race, the Aspar Aprilia rider began to close the distance to the race leader, and a surprise finish still looked possible with three laps to go, when the two at the front were separated by little over two seconds.
But that's when Bautista gave up with his pursuit, taking the chequered flag 5.7 seconds behind Aoyama.
The last podium place went to Mattia Pasini, who fought with Alex Debon for most of the race. The Italian had been following the Spaniard until he managed to overtake him on lap 17. But within a couple of corners he lost the front of his Toth-entered Aprilia and went crashing, handing third place back to the Blusens Aprilia rival.
Pasini got back on his bike and rejoined the race without losing anymore places thanks to a large gap he had over Simoncelli. But as soon as Pasini put his wheels back on the track, Debon also crashed, allowing Pasini to take third back before slotting back in fourth.
At that point, however, Simoncelli was all over Debon and passed him on lap 18, before going in hot pursuit of Pasini. But the reigning world champion was never able to fully close the gap, and in the end he had to be content with fourth, six tenths behind his fellow countryman.
Mike di Meglio made a strong recovery throughout the race to finish fifth ahead of Debon, after the Aspar Aprilia rider had a bad start that saw him fall outside the top ten for the first handful of laps.
Barbera had a disappointing race that saw him fall constantly back after starting from pole. The Pepe Aprilia rider in the end classified eighth behind Scot Honda's Raffaele de Rosa.
CLASSIFIED: Pos Rider Bike Time 1. Hiroshi Aoyama Honda 45m17.516s 2. Alvaro Bautista Aprilia + 5.723s 3. Mattia Pasini Aprilia + 36.161s 4. Marco Simoncelli Gilera + 36.776s 5. Mike Di Meglio Aprilia + 41.418s 6. Alex Debon Aprilia + 41.938s 7. Raffaele De Rosa Honda + 57.483s 8. Hector Barbera Aprilia + 59.975s 9. Thomas Luthi Aprilia +1m14.852s 10. Hector Faubel Honda +1m16.927s 11. Jules Cluzel Aprilia +1m21.356s 12. Lukas Pesek Aprilia +1m21.665s 13. R.Locatelli Gilera +1m29.576s 14. Karel Abraham Aprilia + 1 Lap 15. Shoya Tomizawa Honda + 1 Lap 16. Alex Baldolini Aprilia + 1 Lap 17. Imre Toth Aprilia + 1 Lap 18. Luke Mossey Aprilia + 1 Lap 19. Valentin Debise Honda + 2 Laps 20. Axel Pons Aprilia + 2 Laps 21. Aitor Rodriguez Aprilia + 2 Laps 22. Bastien Chesaux Honda + 2 Laps 23. Toby Markham Aprilia + 4 Laps NOT CLASSIFIED/RETIREMENTS: Rider Bike On lap R.Wilairot Honda 18 Ralf Waldmann Aprilia 5 Balazs Nemeth Aprilia 0 FASTEST LAP: Baldolini, 1m34.963s on lap 22