Pedro Acosta cruised to a second straight Moto2 win in the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, while Jake Dixon was taken out by Alonso Lopez.
Acosta was forced to find his way to the lead on two occasions after the encounter’s original start was red-flagged due to a Turn 1 crash instigated by Gresini’s Jeremy Alcoba, the Spaniard cleaning out the likes of Fantic’s Celestino Vietti and Honda Team Asia’s Somkiat Chantra.
Acosta swiftly regrouped when the race got back underway for a reduced 12-lap sprint, the series leader moving clear of a fast-starting Sergio Garcia on the opening tour before swiftly extending his advantage.
He had crafted a 1.5-second lead in just a couple of laps before Marc VDS’ Tony Arbolino moved through to second, though the Italian also found himself unable to do much about his championship rival as he steadily fell away.
Acosta eventually took the chequered flag 3.8 seconds clear of Arbolino in assured fashion to extend his points advantage to 39 ahead of next weekend’s Japanese GP.
The breathless battle for third meanwhile between Garcia and Italtrans racer Joe Roberts continued right up until the final couple of bends, the pair swapping places on multiple occasions as Garcia desperately tried to hang onto a maiden series rostrum result.
The Spaniard managed to hit back on every move Roberts made, the American pulling off a bold move at the banked Turn 9 on the final lap before running wide, which allowed Garcia to sneak back through once more.
Garcia’s hard work went to waste though as he ran wide at Turn 13 and had to slow significantly to not crash on the dirty paintwork on the outside of the track, allowing Roberts to slip through and secure his first podium finish of the year.
Garcia managed to at least keep the charging Yamaha Master Camp pilot of Manuel Gonzalez at bay to salvage fourth, while Zonta van den Goorbergh secured his first points of the 2023 campaign with an assured ride to sixth for the Fieten Olie GP squad.
Darryn Binder did well on his first appearance since Austria as he returned from injury, the South African taking seventh ahead of the sister Fieten Olie entry of Barry Baltus.
Marcos Ramirez was able to take the restart after being collected in the first restart crash to secure ninth for American Racing, while Filip Salac rounded off the top ten for Gresini.
The Czech rider’s team-mate Alcoba meanwhile also managed to make the restart, though he crashed out while taking the second of the long-lap penalties he received for his part in the Turn 1 incident.
Jake Dixon saw a potential rostrum charge ended after being taken out by Alonso Lopez at Turn 4 shortly after the restart, the GasGas man diving past Lopez on entry to the corner before the Speed Up rider tried to cut back, though he gassed up too early and clattered into the side of Dixon.
Both went down as a result, with Lopez remounting to take the chequered flag outside the top 20 while Dixon crashed again later on into retirement.
Ai Ogura also crashed as a by-product of Aron Canet taking out Sam Lowes at Turn 3 having outbraked himself on the inside, Canet retiring on the spot while Lowes and Ogura remounted en route to 19th and 21st respectively.