Reigning champion Casey Stoner took a strong victory in appalling conditions in the German MotoGP, on his way to his fourth win - the third consecutive one - this season.
The Ducati Marlboro rider, who qualified on pole yesterday, was pipped at the start by Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa and JiR Honda's Andrea Dovizioso.
Pedrosa immediately opened up a gap - almost two seconds in the first lap - and set a blistering pace to be 7.4 seconds ahead of everyone else after the first five laps.
But it all came to an end for the Spaniard at the beginning of lap six, when he crashed out of the race at high speed while braking for turn one.
Pedrosa, who went from leading the championship to trailing Fiat Yamaha's Valentino Rossi by 16 points and being ahead of Stoner by just four, was left with a broken left index finger.
After getting by Dovizioso on lap two, the crash opened the way for Stoner. But he had Rossi to keep under control.
The Italian, from seventh on the grid, had an ordinary start that didn't see him making up any places. But he quickly started making up ground and was up to second by lap nine, 3.4 seconds behind Stoner.
From then on, the two began exchanging fastest laps, but it was last year's champion doing it more often, with the gap slowly increasing to reach a maximum of 6.7 with four laps to go.
Mid-way through the race, Rossi's second place looked to be at risk, with wet-weather specialist Chris Vermeulen reaching an impressive third place and getting closer with his Rizla Suzuki after starting from the 14th spot.
But that didn't last long, with Rossi able to increase the gap again to finish over ten seconds in front of the Australian, who had to fend off the attack of Honda Gresini's Alex de Angelis, just 0.122 seconds behind at the flag.
Dovizioso classified in a distant fifth place, ahead of the ALice Ducati of Sylvain Guintoli and a jubilant Loris Capirossi, who on his return from injury just beat LCR Honda's Randy de Puniet for seventh.
Fiat Yamaha's Jorge Lorenzo crashed once again on lap three from sixth place, while Marco Melandri crashed his factory Ducati on lap ten shortly after setting the fastest lap of the race up to that point. Tech 3 Yamaha's Colin Edwards also crashed out from fifth place on lap 21.
Works Honda rider Nicky Hayden dropped to last place during the first lap and was never able to recover. He visited the pits at the end of lap seven and then rejoined the track, eventually finishing last, two laps down from Stoner.
Pos Rider Bike Time 1. Casey Stoner Ducati (B) 47:30.057 2. Valentino Rossi Yamaha (B) + 3.708 3. Chris Vermeulen Suzuki (B) + 14.002 4. Alex de Angelis Honda (B) + 14.124 5. Andrea Dovizioso Honda (M) + 42.022 6. Sylvain Guintoli Ducati (B) + 46.648 7. Loris Capirossi Suzuki (B) +1:04.483 8. Randy de Puniet Honda (M) +1:04.588 9. Shinya Nakano Honda (B) +1:16.773 10. Anthony West Kawasaki (B) +1:29.275 11. James Toseland Yamaha (M) + 1 lap 12. Toni Elias Ducati (B) + 1 lap 13. Nicky Hayden Honda (M) + 2 laps Retirements: Rider Bike Laps Colin Edwards Yamaha (M) 20 Marco Melandri Ducati (B) 9 Dani Pedrosa Honda (M) 5 Jorge Lorenzo Yamaha (M) 2