Marco Bezzecchi cruised to a second ever Moto2 success in the European Grand Prix at Valencia, while points leader Sam Lowes crashed out while running second late on.
Bezzecchi made a strong start from fifth on the grid to move into third as the field tipped into Turn 1, though quickly relegated pole-man Xavi Vierge from the lead on the second tour.
The VR46 pilot was never headed from this point on, fending off the advances of Lowes as well as Jorge Martin in the closing laps, ultimately extending his lead to over a second for the first time with just a few laps remaining.
The Italian capped off his mature performance as he took the chequered flag just over a second clear of Martin, while Remy Gardner once again impressed with his third rostrum of the year on his year old-Kalex chassis run by the SAG squad.
Bezzecchi’s victory moved him back into the conversation for a maiden Moto2 title following the early exit of series leader Sam Lowes, the Brit losing the front of his Marc VDS machine at Turn 6 while chasing Bezzecchi as the race entered its final third.
He was unable to get his bike re-started in good time, dropping to the back of the field and ultimately retiring into the pit-lane after looking likely to extend his points advantage.
Chief championship rival Enea Bastianini meanwhile made the most of Lowes’ retirement by recovering from his lowly starting position of 15th to bag solid points for fourth, the Italtrans racer passing Pons Racing’s Lorenzo Baldassarri for the position in the final couple laps.
Luca Marini finds himself with another chance to take the title down to the wire as he took sixth despite a slow start that saw him drop as far as 11th early on, the three-time ’20 race winner displaying speed similar to his team-mate Bezzecchi in the closing tours.
Hector Garzo was seventh to complete a strong day for the Pons outfit, while Niccolo Bulega passed a fading Vierge for ninth right at the death.
Jorge Navarro had a quiet day to complete the top ten for the factory Speed Up team.
Joe Roberts looked good to battle for a maiden intermediate class success after passing Vierge for the lead on the opening lap, though soon threw away his hopes after losing the front end of his American Racing machine at Turn 2 on the second tour-retiring from the encounter as a result.
Lowes’ retirement means he slips to second in the points standings, six down on Bastianini while VR46 pairing Marini and Bezzecchi remain firmly within range 19 and 29 from the lead respectively.