Enea Bastianini roared to a second career MotoGP victory in the Americas Grand Prix after defeating factory Ducati rider Jack Miller in the closing laps of the encounter.
The Italian ran in third throughout the early circulations after passing Francesco Bagnaia on the opening lap, shadowing leader Miller and pole-man Jorge Martin.
Miller looked to be dictating the pace out in front to preserve his tyres, a suspicion he bore out as he began to try and break away from the pack as the race passed mid-distance, Bastianini quickly passing Martin in an attempt to keep the Aussie within attacking range.
The Gresini rider posted an all-time two-wheeled race lap record of the Circuit of the Americas in his quest to catch Miller, with a pass for the lead coming with just a quarter of the contest left to run.
Having expertly saved his tyres behind his stable-mates, Bastianini pulled away from his pursuers across the final few tours, eventually taking the chequered flag for his second victory of the year by just over two seconds ahead of the thrilling battle for the runners-up spot.
Alex Rins had made his way through the wall of Ducati’s that guarded the podium spots throughout the race, and despite being unable to do anything about Bastianini the Spaniard looked hungry to relieve Miller of second as he struggled for grip on the final tour.
The Suzuki pilot first moved ahead of Miller into Turn 11, though the Ducati soon blasted back past down the large back straight to Turn 12.
Rins refused to back down though and managed to set-up a pass through the triple right-handed series of bends towards the end of the lap to slice past on entry to Turn 19, a move he managed to complete to secure second ahead of Miller.
Joan Mir was fourth on the sister Suzuki GSX-RR ahead of Bagnaia, while Marc Marquez pulled off an incredible fightback to recover from a slow start that dropped him to the back of the field to take sixth.
He was forced to hang on in the final few laps though after burning through his rubber, reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo attempting to pass Marquez through the esses on two occasions – though Marquez ultimately held on in front of the Yamaha racer.
Martin eventually fell back to eighth ahead of team-mate Johann Zarco, while Maverick Vinales won the battle of the Aprilia’s to complete the top ten after passing team-mate Aleix Espargaro on the final lap.
Brad Binder was the highest-placed KTM in 12th, while Franco Morbidelli salvaged a tough point on the sister factory Yamaha for 15th.
Raul Fernandez ended up as best rookie in 19th ahead of Tech 3 KTM team-mate Remy Gardner, while Marco Bezzecchi and LCR Honda’s Alex Marquez were the only two riders that failed to make the finish after both crashed out in separate incidents.
Bastianini’s success sees him retake the points lead on 61 with the consistent Rins now second just five markers adrift, with Espargaro now dropping to third overall ahead of Mir and Quartararo heading to Portugal in two weeks time.