Deniz Oncu snatched away victory from Ayumu Sasaki to secure victory in a soaking Australian Moto3 encounter, while series leader Jaume Masia could only manage eighth.
Oncu displayed strong speed throughout the entirety of the 21-lap race, which got underway in heavy wet conditions that also provided limited vision for the riders.
The Turk was part of a lead group made up of pole man Sasaki and Husqvarna team-mate Colin Veijer, CFMoto’s Joel Kelso and Leopard Racing’s Adrian Fernandez. It would be Fernandez who made the lead his own as the race progressed, the Spaniard enjoying a lead of just over a second as the race moved past half-distance.
Disaster would follow just half-a-dozen tours from home though as Fernandez dropped his Honda after running slightly wide at Turn 11, leaving Sasaki to take the lead ahead of Oncu and Kelso.
Oncu had managed to recover from a couple of nasty moments himself to close onto the rear of Sasaki as the duo began the final lap, the KTM Ajo pilot backing out of a move at Turn 1. He continued to stalk the Japanese rider across the remainder of the lap before finally diving down the inside at Turn 10.
He managed to get his machine stopped to secure the spot, Oncu taking the chequered flag 0.407s clear of Sasaki to record his third victory of the term.
Sasaki thus had to make do with a sixth runners-up finish of the season though, as title rival Masia could only secure eighth, he narrowed his points deficit to just four heading into next weekend’s Thai Grand Prix.
Kelso meanwhile secured his maiden Moto3 rostrum result at his home event after electing to back off in the closing couple of laps after suffering a couple of moments in the tricky conditions.
Veijer claimed a distant fourth ahead of Fernandez, who managed to quickly remount and salvage a top-five result.
Sic58’s Ricardo Rossi ended up sixth ahead of Taiyo Furusato and Masia, while Snipers’ Matteo Bertelle and CIP’s Lorenzo Fellon completed the top ten.
Daniel Holgado lost further ground in the championship battle having only secured 13th, the Tech 3 man’s cause not helped by a crash on the sighting lap. Diogo Moreira also suffered the same fate, the Brazilian retiring not long into the race as his bike was unable to be sufficiently repaired.
Several riders lost out on top ten finishes due to falling foul of the conditions. Erstwhile title contender David Alonso fell victim to Turn 4 early on as did Ivan Ortola, while Mario Aji went down from sixth after losing the front at Turn 11 just past mid-way.
David Salvador crashed from the top ten after high-siding dramatically at Turn 8, while David Munoz also went down in a similar vein to Fernandez and Aji at Turn 11.