Celestino Vietti dominated the Qatar Moto2 encounter to score his first ever win in the class by over six seconds over Aron Canet.
Starting from pole position the VR46 rider immediately managed to start building a gap over Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino, while Canet made a lightning-quick start to slingshot from ninth on the grid to third.
He soon managed to dispatch Arbolino and try to put pressure on Vietti, though the Italian looked to be at one with his Triumph-powered Kalex challenger.
Canet looked good to potentially sustain a late race attack in the final half-dozen laps as he narrowed Vietti’s advantage down to just 1.5 seconds, though his hopes were soon dashed as tyhe leader pulled the pin and started to sprint away from the Pons rider.
Vietti eventually took the chequered flag 6.1 seconds clear of Canet to claim his first ever Moto2 rostrum and win – as well as VR46’s second of the day after its Moto3 success – while the tussle for third between four riders raged on until the very end.
Ai Ogura had held the position for the bulk of the race before coming under pressure in the closing stages by KTM Ajo’s Augusto Fernandez, though before he could make a move stick he found himself overcome by ex-team-mate Sam Lowes, who was recovering from a poor start in which he had dropped all the way to tenth.
The Brit soon managed to grab third from Agura, though he found himself unable to escape and was re-passed by the Honda Team Asia man as well as Fernandez onto the final tour.
Fernandez heaped pressure on Ogura across the final circulation before making the move for the final rostrum spot at Turn 14, though he out-braked himself at the final bend and allowed Ogura one final shot to get back ahead.
Ogura also braked too late though and lost the front of his machine, running into the side of Fernandez and allowing Lowes a run up the inside-leaving the Marc VDS bike to snatch the final podium place by just 0..078s ahead of Fernandez.
Ogura had a lucky escape as he managed to get across the line sixth just behind Arbolino, while Jorge Navarro brought home the second Pons Racing entry seventh.
Joe Roberts was eighth for Italtrans ahead of Cameron Beaubier, with Marcel Schrotter completing the top ten just fractions ahead of a recovering Jake Dixon, who dropped to 20th off the start after an incident with Speed Up’s Fermin Aldeguer.
Reigning Moto3 world champion Pedro Acosta endured a tricky Moto2 debut en-route to a 12th place finish after passing Albert Arenas’ Aspar late on.
Filip Salac’s heroic run in qualifying to grab fourth on his own intermediate class bow went unrewarded after the Czech crashed at Turn 5 just a few laps into the contest.