Jorge Martin flew to a second-successive MotoGP sprint win in India to further close on series leader Francesco Bagnaia, while Marco Bezzecchi clashed with VR46 team-mate Luca Marini.
Martin made a rapid start to launch clear of pole-man Bezzecchi off the start into an early lead, the VR46 man also losing out to Bagnaia on the short run to the opening bend before being clipped by Marini, the latter crashing out as Bezzecchi ran through the gravel and dropped to 18th.
Pramac Ducati’s Martin managed to establish a strong lead of more than a second in just one lap as Bagnaia struggled to get up to speed, the factory Ducati pilot forced to fend off the advances of Honda duo Joan Mir and Marc Marquez.
Despite eventually getting into his rhythm and pulling clear of his pursuers, Bagnaia was powerless to reign in the relentless Martin out in front, the Spaniard continually pulling away to a 1.4-second advantage by the time he took the chequered flag after 11 tours of the Buddh International Circuit.
Bagnaia’s solid run to the runners-up position meant he ceded only three points to his title rival, his lead cut to 33 ahead of the full-length Indian Grand Prix.
Marquez meanwhile extracted the most from his Honda package to secure his first rostrum appearance since the season-opening Portuguese GP sprint, the six-time premier class champion holding off KTM’s Brad Binder in the closing laps.
Binder made one of his customary fast and aggressive starts to move into the top five on the opening lap despite starting down in 13th, the South African eventually moving into his finishing spot of fourth after Mir ran wide early on and dropped to the back of the top ten before crashing out at Turn 3.
Bezzecchi put on a blazing fight back through the field following his opening lap calamity, the two-time premier class race winner posting several fastest laps on the way back to fifth in the end, Bezzecchi securing the spot on the very final lap after passing Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo, who took sixth.
Jack Miller scored a few points for seventh on the other factory KTM ahead of Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales, while RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez backed up his impressive qualifying speed with a run to ninth to claim the final point.
Fernandez’s RNF team-mate Miguel Oliveira struggled to make much progress through the pack and could only get to 12th having started 19th, while the final Aprilia rider of Aleix Espargaro crashed out at Turn 13 with a few laps remaining while running just outside the top ten.
Johann Zarco also retired having crashed from sixth, while Stefan Bradl and Pol Espargaro failed to complete the opening lap after going into the gravel at Turn 1 in a clash with Espargaro’s GasGas team-mate Augusto Fernandez, who continued onwards to 11th at the flag.
Alex Marquez failed to make the start of the race after being ruled out of the remainder of the event, and most likely Japan next weekend too, after sustaining broken ribs as a result of a crash towards the end of Q1.