(REUTERS) - Valentino Rossi extended his MotoGP lead over Yamaha team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to 23 points at the San Marino Grand Prix on Sunday, despite a strategy blunder that handed victory to Spaniard Marc Marquez.
The veteran Italian ace had a record 92,000-strong home crowd on their feet and cheering as he took the lead at Misano's Marco Simoncelli circuit in eastern Italy but the joy was shortlived in a thrilling dry-wet-dry race involving two pit stops.
With Marquez's Honda team pitting the reigning champion to switch bikes again with 10 laps remaining, Rossi and Lorenzo - who had started on pole - stayed out.
Lorenzo eventually came in with eight laps to go and then crashed out on the next lap just as Rossi, who ended up fifth, was brought in for his switch back to a bike with slick tyres.
Britain had two riders on the podium instead of the familiar faces, with Bradley Smith second for Tech3 Yamaha after staying on slick tyres during the rain shower and coming through from 19th place.
"Everyone told me it would rain for a little spot and then it would disappear. It was raining and I saw there was 20 laps to go, so I thought it could dry and they'd be on wets that would be ruined in the end," he said Smith.
"In the end I thought: 'I've already stayed out four laps longer than I should, so I'm in it for the long haul'. I just kept telling myself 'luck favours the brave'."
Scott Redding's first MotoGP podium was even more remarkable with the Marc VDS Honda rider having to pick up his machine after a fall into the gravel on the seventh lap.
Rossi now has 247 points to Lorenzo's 224, with Marquez third on 184 with five rounds remaining.
"I was behind the Yamahas and was trying to check how was the asphalt and the tyres and I saw that Lorenzo and Valentino had big (tyre) degradation," said Marquez.
"I said now is the time to change the tyres and when I changed then I saw that the track was completely dry, but it was difficult to understand," added the Spaniard, after his fourth win of the season and 23rd of his career.