Jack Miller scored a first MotoGP victory in five years with a commanding performance in the Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez, leading a Ducati 1-2 ahead of team-mate Francesco Bagnaia.
Miller made a characteristic lightning getaway to take the lead from third on the grid, the Aussie edging clear of Franco Morbidelli in the early goings of the encounter.
His time at the head of the field remained short though as a recovering Fabio Quartararo quickly fought his way through the leaders after dropping to fourth after starting from from pole, retaking the leadership just four laps into the race.
The factory Yamaha racer spent the next dozen laps controlling his lead out in front, though Miller remained a constant 1.2 seconds behind the Frenchman as the pair pulled away from third placed Morbidelli.
What looked to be an easy run to a third straight MotoGP win for Quartararo soon turned sour though as he began to struggle for speed, Miller wiping out his lead in just a couple of tours and relatively easy dispatching the M1 just past mid-distance.
With Quartararo now dropping back through the field, his main antagonist became team-mate Bagnaia, the Italian having finally passed Morbidelli’s Petronas SRT machine as he looked to make a late challenge for supremacy.
Miller had things under control though across the final third of the 25-lap contest, ultimately taking the chequered flag 1.912s clear of Bagnaia to record his first premier class success since he won the ’16 Dutch TT on a Marc VDS Honda.
Bagnaia’s solid run to complete Ducati’s 1-2 result also sees him take over the championship lead, previous leader Quartararo dropping down to 13th by the end of the race and as a result now trailing the Desmosedici pilot by two points heading to Le Mans in a fortnight.
Morbidelli clung onto the final spot on the rostrum ahead of a charging Takaaki Nakagami who matched his best ever MotoGP result in fourth for LCR Honda, while Joan Mir managed to make the soft front tyre on his Suzuki work to complete the top five.
Aleix Espargaro also matched Aprilia’s best finish since it returned to the premier class in ’15 with a run to sixth ahead of Maverick Vinales, while Johann Zarco ended out a rather quiet weekend eighth on his Pramac-run Ducati.
Honda’s factory duo of Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro rounded out the top ten finishers, the former the quickest man on track in the closing stages.
Quartararo took the chequered flag a distant 18.9 seconds adrift of Miller despite having led the majority of the encounter, only just holding off Tech 3 KTM pair Danilo Petrucci and Iker Lecuona to keep hold of 13th.
Valentino Rossi’s horror year continued under the Spanish sun as he struggled to 17th, beating only Pramac stand-in Tito Rabat, Aprilia’s Lorenzo Savadori and Alex Rins, the Suzuki man having crashed in the early stages.
Brad Binder was another to suffer a tough day at the office as he crashed twice during the race, the second get-off ending his outing for good, while Enea Bastianini and Alex Marquez also crashed out.