Behind Stoner was where most of the real race drama unfolded. Pedrosa’s Repsol Honda teammate Andrea Dovisioso seemingly had a good grip on third, with a still-healing Valentino Rossi being chased by Nicky Hayden and Ben Spies. Spies had originally been as high as third, but it took him a few laps to feel confident in his rear tire, letting the others get by. By midrace, Spies began to find his rhythm, and soon moved past Hayden and closed up on Rossi. Rossi responded by dropping his lap times by almost half a second, but Spies was keeping pace and looking threatening until a mistake braking into Turn 11 forced him to run wide with six laps to go, letting Hayden back by into fifth. Rossi’s increased pace to keep Spies at bay allowed him to catch up to Dovisioso, where he eventually passed the Honda rider in Turn 11. Dovisioso tried to retaliate in the same turn on the final lap, but made a major mistake that forced him off track and almost let Hayden get by into fourth.