(CNN) -- Dani Pedrosa mastered wet track conditions at Le Mans to win the French MotoGP Sunday -- the second straight win for the Spaniard in motorcycling's premier class.
Pedrosa has also hit the front in the title race, taking over from compatriot and Repsol Honda teammate Marc Marquez, who battled to the final podium spot after a slow start.
Britain's emerging young star Cal Crutchlow was sandwiched between the two Spaniards, his second place his first podium at this level and a major boost for the Monster Yamaha Tech3 team.
The 28-lap race started in treacherous conditions with a number of leading contenders, Italian Valentino Rossi included, coming to grief. He eventually finished back in 12th.
Rossi's factory Yamaha teammate and reigning world champion Jorge Lorenzo also struggled to adapt to conditions and wound up a well-beaten seventh to trail Pedrosa by 17 points in third in the title battle.
Pedrosa, who started sixth on the grid, also took his time to pick his way to the front with Ducati's Andrea Dovisiozo a long-time leader before slipping back to fourth place.
Pedrosa, who leads Marquez by six points after four rounds, has finished second, followed by two straight wins since his fourth in the opening round at Qatar.
But he acknowledged that in drying conditions he had to be at this best to take the checkered flag.
"When I was in front I made a couple of mistakes and almost ran out twice. I was on the limit," he told BBC Sport.
The 27-year-old Crutchlow, the first genuine contender from his country for a number of years, held off the charging Marquez to hold on to second, despite riding with a small fracture to his shin sustained in a practice crash.
"It's nice to finally get that podium," he said.
He is up to fourth in the overall standings, leapfrogging Rossi.
In a further boost for British motorcycling, Scott Redding secured his first win in the Moto2 class.