Jaume Masia eases to a commanding win in the Moto3 Indian Grand Prix, the Spaniard leading every lap to become the first grand prix rider to win in the country.
The Leopard Racing pilot made a good start from pole position to establish himself out in front from the outset, Masia swiftly aiming to break up the pack as he unleashed his pace.
Title rival Ayumu Sasaki was the only man able to keep up with his blistering pace as the pair broke comfortably away from their pursuers, their gap standing at around 2.5 second by the time Sasaki’s Husqvarna team-mate Colin Veijer broke through to third and stemmed the flow around mid-distance.
Sasaki began to labor though as the final third of the contest came around, Masia maintaining his speed as the Japanese rider seemingly began to struggle with his tyres.
Masia extended his advantage rapidly as Sasaki fell away, leaving to eventually take the chequered flag 5.5 seconds clear of the intense battle for the runners-up spot that developed across the closing stages.
Such was the extent of Sasaki’s slump, Veijer managed to bridge the 2.5-second gap to his team leader, the Dutchman also bringing Sic58 rider Kaito Toba along.
The trio tussled over the final couple of laps and traded places almost every corner before disaster struck on the final tour, Sasaki attempting to dive through on Veijer at Turn 13 before running wide.
This pushed him on into the side of Veijer, causing him to crash out and retire on the spot, the carnage leaving Toba to come through and secure his first rostrum result of the year while Sasaki clung onto the final podium spot.
Daniel Holgado, who held the points lead heading into the weekend, failed to match the speed of the leaders but still completed a decent damage limitation mission to claim fourth ahead of GasGas’ David Alonso.
David Munoz was sixth for BOE Motorsports ahead of the sister Sic58 entry of Ricardo Rossi, with MTA Angeluss pair Ivan Ortola and Stefano Nepa shadowing each other home in eighth and ninth respectively.
Jose Antonio Rueda rounded off the top ten on his Ajo-run KTM, his team-mate Deniz Oncu only rebounding to 14th in the end after starting from the rear of the field with a long-lap penalty after ignoring a black flag during qualifying.
Diogo Moreria looked to be in with a shout of the podium battle in the early goings but eventually fell back to 13th for the MT Helmets – MSI outfit.
Matteo Bertelle also looked to possess strong speed but dropped his Snipers-run bike from third at Turn 1 early on, while Taiyo Furusato saw a promising top-ten run end with a crash at Turn 4 around half-distance while running tenth.
Holgado will head into next weekend’s Japanese GP a joint series leader with Holgado, the duo just a solitary point clear of Sasaki.