Pedro Acosta dominated proceedings at Misano in the Moto2 San Marino Grand Prix to further extend his points advantage, while title rival Tony Arbolino battled back to fourth.
The KTM Ajo racer made a rapid start to jump clear of pole-man Celestino Vietti into Turn 1, the Spaniard quickly establishing a blistering pace out in front that only Vietti and Pons’ Aron Canet could match.
Canet soon though eliminated himself from contention after tucking the front of his machine at Turn 14 approaching half-distance, leaving Vietti to run down Acosta – the Fantic pilot reducing the leading advantage to just under half-a-second as the race moved past half-way.
This was as close as Vietti would get to snatching away supremacy though as he began to struggle with his front tyre, the Italian nearly losing the front of his bike several times across the closing stanza and thus allowing Acosta cruise well clear for his fifth victory of the term by 6.3 seconds over Vietti.
The battle to third meanwhile went down the very end as Arbolino fought back from ninth on the grid to chase Speed Up racer Alonso Lopez for the final rostrum spot, the Marc VDS man reducing the Spaniard’s gap to under a second in the final lap but was ultimately forced to settle for fourth as Lopez claimed his first podium finish since Le Mans in May.
Acosta thus extends his points lead to a stout 34 over Arbolino heading into the flyaway portion of the year, with GasGas’ Jake Dixon falling to 65 markers adrift of the series lead after struggling to 12th, the Briton lacking pace on Sunday after crashing during qualifying.
Ai Ogura meanwhile managed to pull off an impressive comeback through the field to complete the top five for Honda Team Asia having started a lowly 13th; the Japanese ace leading home team-mate Somkiat Chantra after the duo dispatched Manuel Gonzalez in the closing stages.
Italtrans’ Joe Roberts was eighth ahead of Gresini’s Filip Salac, while the wild-carding Mattia Pasini rounded off the top ten for the RW Racing operation having narrowly held off the sole remaining Pons of Sergio Garcia at the death.
Sam Lowes saw a potential top five run come to an end after crashing at Turn 1 while running sixth and hunting down the riders ahead as the race entered its final quarter, while the other Speed Up entry of Fermin Aldeguer lost out on a points finish due to a crash of his own.