Xavier Artigas held off Sergio Garcia to grab his maiden Moto3 victory at Valencia as world champion Pedro Acosta was taken out on the final lap by Dennis Foggia.
Artigas-the rookie competing for the final time with his Leopard Racing outfit after being dropped for 2022-remained a permanent fixture within the top ten throughout the contest, though only joined into the frenetic battle for the lead as the race entered its final half-dozen laps.
He and team-mate Foggia looked to score Leopard’s sixth win of the year as they battled away with Acosta as well as the likes of the Spaniard’s fellow KTM riders Jaume Masia, Deniz Oncu as well as GasGas man Sergio Garcia.
The leading trio of Foggia, Acosta and Artigas looked to have made an escape from their pursuers as they entered the final lap, Acosta firing down the inside of his erstwhile title rival at Turn 1 to take the lead of the contest.
Foggia was keen to get one over on the 2022 Ajo Moto2 rider one last time though as he dived for the inside to reclaim the leadership once more, though he braked a little too late and ran straight into the side of Acosta, clipping his handlebars and sending him down into retirement.
This left Artigas to battle away with Garcia, Oncu and Masia across the remainder of the final circulation as Foggia dropped back, the second Leopard Honda ultimately out-dragging Garcia to the line to take the chequered flag just 0.043s clear.
Oncu made a last ditch attempt to score his maiden win in his first outing since serving a two-race ban due to poor riding standards in the United States GP, the Turkish ace braking impossibly late at the final bend to try and find a way through.
His efforts proved futile though as he ran wide and lost momentum onto the straight, allowing Masia through to complete the rostrum positions while Filip Salac also slipped through to snatch fourth ahead of Oncu.
Foggia crossed the line in sixth, though he would receive a three-second penalty for his part in the incident with Acosta, dropping him to 13th and elevating Stefano Nepa into sixth.
Izan Guevara challenged Acosta up front early on but would later get shuffled back to an eventual finishing position of seventh ahead of Carlos Tatay, while Niccolo Antonelli would be classified in ninth.
Ayumu Sasaki would round out the top ten on his Tech 3-run KTM machine.
Darryn Binder would fail to see the finish of his final Moto3 encounter after high-siding on the opening tour after he tried to avoid the similarly high-siding Lorenzo Fellon, with Ryusei Yamanaka also falling victim in the incident, though luckily all three riders walked away without injury.
Tatsuki Suzuki crashed from tenth to end his long spell with the SIC58 squad on a low note, Andrea Migno also going down on the final lap while running well in the top ten.