Dani Pedrosa upstaged the championship contenders at the Sachsenring to take his first victory since returning from a broken collarbone. The Spaniard sat behind Jorge Lorenzo and Casey Stoner for the first half of the race before surging clear in the closing stages.
As usual, Pedrosa flew of out the traps from the middle of the front row to lead around the first corner but the first overtaking opportunity of the race was taken by Lorenzo who dived past into turn 12. The next Repsol Honda in the queue was Andrea Dovizioso after the Italian put a forceful move on Stoner.
A leading group of five were stretching clear with Marco Simoncelli also involved, but Stoner was desperate to make up for his difficult start and moved to the front of the Repsol Honda train with two overtaking moves in the space of three corners.
Shortly afterwards, the polesitter was back in control after drafting past Lorenzo on the back straight to turn 12 but despite his best attempts, the chasing quartet remained locked on to his rear wheel, and the top five were still covered by less than a second with twelve laps gone.
Further back, Ben Spies was riding a lonely race in sixth while Alvaro Bautista was involved in a fierce battle with the factory Ducatis of Nicky Hayden and Valentino Rossi who had forced his way into the top ten after his nightmare in qualifying.
The status quo at the front was broken, not surprisingly, by the aggression of Marco Simoncelli who took fourth from Dovizioso in attempt to stay with the top three. Lorenzo has been one of his most outspoken critics recently and perhaps he saw him coming, as he retook the lead from Stoner soon after.
In the space of a couple of laps, the Repsol Honda over his shoulder had changed as Pedrosa dived through into second and set off in hot pursuit of the Yamaha ahead. At the conclusion of lap 21, his pursuit came to a head as Lorenzo was forced to sit up coming on to the pit straight. The moment's hesitation handed Pedrosa a lead that he wouldn't relinquish.
Stoner looked to have snatched second after repeating his teammate's move five laps from home but with vital World Championship points at stake, Lorenzo fought back on the final lap. Despite a mistake at turn ten, the Spaniard was hot on the heels of his rival approaching the final corner and lunged through. With the finish line immediately on the exit of the curve, he managed to pip the Honda over the line.
Both Yamahas came on strong in the dying moments as Ben Spies managed to muscle in on the Dovizioso-Simoncelli scrap, eventually finishing between them in fifth.
The battle royal over seventh also went down to the wire but fell in favour of Alvaro Bautista for Rizla Suzuki. The Ducatis of Hayden and Rossi were forced to settle for eighth and ninth but provided one of the highlights of the race when Rossi sent an ambitious move up the inside of his teammate on lap 19, almost sending both of them into the gravel.
Colin Edwards couldn't quite join in the fun but ended up right on their tail in tenth but Tech 3 teammate Cal Crutchlow surrendered 11th after a late mistake let through a trio of Ducatis. Hector Barbera took 11th ahead of Karel Abraham, Randy de Puniet and Crutchlow while Hiroshi Aoyama claimed the final point.
Toni Elias trailed home over a minute off the lead in 16th with Sylvain Guintoli a lap down in 17th on the Pramac Ducati. The Frenchman missed out on points though as all seventeen riders made the chequered flag for the first time this year.