Joan Mir placed one hand on the MotoGP championship trophy with a commanding first ever premier class victory in the European Grand Prix at Valencia.
The Suzuki pilot moved ahead of Johann Zarco at the start into fourth, before swiftly passing Takaaki Nakagami to take third.
The Spaniard went into second ahead of Pol Espargaro’s KTM a few tours later, following team-mate Alex Rins who had snatched the lead away from Espargaro on lap two.
Mir followed Rins for the bulk of the race after moving into the runners-up position, though the leading GSX-RR’s couldn’t shake off the KTM across the remainder of the distance.
Mir-looking to finally banish the ghost of potentially securing the riders title without a win-took advantage of a mistake from Rins after he ran wide at Turn 8 with just ten laps to go, the 2017 Moto3 world champion immediately beginning to edge away.
He would ultimately continue to control his lead right until the chequered flag, taking his first win since ’17 just 0.651 ahead of Rins to secure Suzuki’s first 1-2 result of the season-also becoming the ninth rider to win so far in ’20.
Espargaro looked to threaten Rins across the closing laps, though lacked the last bit of speed needed to seriously attack the three-time MotoGP winner and had to settle for third.
Nakagami utilised his customary late-race performance to close in on Espargaro and Rins in the closing stages, but was forced to make do with fourth after just running out of time.
Shadowing Espargaro early on, Miguel Oliveira ultimately faded towards the end towards the pursuing Pramac Ducati of Jack Miller, though the Tech 3 racer held on to complete the top five ahead of the Aussie.
Brad Binder staged an impressive comeback to bag seventh on the second factory KTM despite receiving an early long-lap penalty, passing Andrea Dovizioso at the death to take the position.
Zarco faded to ninth by the flag after running solidly in the top five in the opening laps, while Danilo Petrucci rounded out the top ten on the second factory Desmosedici.
Yamaha’s bad weekend got even worse as the European GP progressed, its highest representative being Franco Morbidelli in a lowly 11th after struggling for speed throughout the 27-lap encounter.
The Petronas SRT man crossed the line nearly 20 seconds behind Mir, though he at least fared better than his fellow M1 brethren.
Maverick Vinales could only recover to 13th after starting form pit-lane due to having to take a sixth engine of the year, while Fabio Quartararo crashed on the opening lap and could only fight back to take a couple of points for 14th as the last classified finisher.
Valentino Rossi meanwhile suffered an early exit after his Yamaha spluttered to a halt after only a handful of laps, potentially bringing yet more engine woes for the manufacturer.
Alex Rins lost out on another top ten finish meanwhile after crashing out shortly after being passed by Dovizioso with just three tours remaining, the factory Honda racer touching a damp patch on the inside at Turn 1 and losing the front of his RC213-V as a result.
Mir’s impressive victory means he holds a formidable 37 point championship lead over team-mate Rins and Quartararo with just two rounds left, meaning he has a good opportunity to secure the title a round early in next weekend’s second outing at the Ricardo Tormo circuit.
Rins’ runner-up result lifted him four places from sixth to third in the standings, now on exactly the same points as Quartararo.
Vinales remains in mathematical title contention 41 points behind on fourth, with Dovizioso and Morbidelli also joint on points now 42 down on Mir.