Celestino Vietti scored his ever Moto3 success as he held off Tony Arbolino to win the Styrian Grand Prix at the Red Bull Ring.
Vietti was a regular fixture in the leading group across the entirety of the 23 lap contest, the VR46 man coming to the fore late on as track position became ever more important.
He and Sniper’s ace Arbolino were in the perfect position to capitalise when Ai Ogura attempted a failed move down the inside of Vietti for the lead with only a couple tours remaining, causing him to have to defend against the advances of John McPhee and Gabriel Rodrigo.
The resulting battle afforded Vietti and Arbolino a significant lead, allowing them to fight amongst themselves for the win.
Arbolino remained close across the final lap, and looked to have a good run at Vietti heading into Turn 9 for the final time, though the VR46 machine exited the turn still ahead as he was able to brake a touch later on the racing line.
Arbolino then made an error while right up behind Vietti into the final bend, allowing Vietti to stretch away on the run to the line to secure his first victory in the series by a 0.410 margin over Arbolino.
The ever-consistent Ogura ultimately held off the raging pack behind to bag his fourth rostrum in six races, moving into second in the riders standings as a result.
Pole-man Rodrigo faded slightly towards the end of the contest and had to settle for foruth behind the Honda Team Asia machine, while championship leader Albert Arenas heads to Misano with an increased points advantage after scoring solid points for fifth.
Darryn Binder again scored good points in sixth ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki, while Raul Fernandez brought his KTM-backed Ajo bike home eighth.
Stefano Nepa and Sergio Garcia completed the top ten on their Aspar and Estrella Galicia-prepared KTM and Honda’s respectively, picking up several positions in the closing tours following several incidents.
The highest-profile of these was the retirement of John McPhee, who crashed out from fifth with just over a lap remaining after tucking the front of his Petronas SRT Honda at Turn 9.
The Scotsman slipped to third in the standings behind Ogura as a result, with McPhee now having to overcome a 39 point deficit to Arenas.
Ayamu Sasaki meanwhile saw a second-straight strong Austrian result go up in smoke after being taken out of contention by Tech 3 team-mate Deniz Oncu heading in the closing stages.
The Turkish pilot got it all wrong heading into the first turn and skittled straight into the back of the unsuspecting Sasaki, taking the pair down heavily.
While Sasaki was able to walk away uninjured, Oncu had to be stretchered away from the scene, although he was later confirmed as conscious.