Defending MotoGP champion Pecco Bagnaia took a pivotal win from 13th place on the grid in the Indonesian Grand Prix, as main title rival Jorge Martin crashed out of a big lead.
It meant that what looked like a potential lead of 12-to-16 points for Martin coming out of the weekend instead turned into an 18-point lead for Bagnaia, with five more grands prix left to contest in 2023.
Having picked off his rivals one by one in yesterday's sprint, Martin made up all the positions he needed to in one fell swoop this time, launching himself from sixth to first already on the run to Turn 1.
Maverick Vinales sent it down the inside of the corner to consolidate second place, and in the early going it was the two Spaniards setting the pace from out front.
Behind, Bagnaia had made equally-rapid progress compared to his championship rival, getting a decent start and ultimately working his way to sixth by the end of the opening lap, aided by Aleix Espargaro running wide.
On the second lap, two more positions were handed to the championship leader as, after backing out of a challenge on Fabio Quartararo around the outside of Turn 10, poleman Luca Marini was instead speared off by Brad Binder - who wound up yielding to Bagnaia as a consequence.
The next lap, Bagnaia himself eased past Quartararo for third. By then, however, second-placed Vinales was nearly two seconds clear - although he was also starting to be left behind by Martin, unable to match the Ducati's pace.
Yet with Martin really asserting his advantage over Vinales as the 27-lap race approached its halfway point, his lead hovering around three seconds, it was suddenly for naught as he dropped his Ducati in a very simple-looking low-side coming through Turn 11 on the 13th lap.
Though Martin's crash suddenly promoted Vinales to the lead, his gap over Bagnaia had been reduced to a second by then - and Bagnaia continued to whittle it down methodically from there.
On lap 20, he - much like Martin in overtaking Vinales on Saturday - got a much better run through Turns 7, 8 and 9 to set up a simple move into Turn 10 and take the lead from the Aprilia rider.
Vinales did briefly come back at Bagnaia in the closing laps, but never close enough to attack, instead finding himself busy with keeping Quartararo at bay - the Frenchman having hindered his race by running wide at Turn 1 on the fourth lap soon after being overtaken by Bagnaia.
After making his way back through, he attacked Vinales over the final lap, but couldn't get through, finishing just four tenths of a second off race winner Bagnaia and one tenth behind Vinales to complete the podium.
Gresini Ducati's ousted rider Fabio Di Giannantonio capped off by far his best premier-class weekend with by far his best grand prix showing, working his way through to a superb fourth place. Though he was well adrift of the podium, he was also well clear of fifth place - which was taken by VR46 rider Marco Bezzecchi, riding with a recently-fractured collarbone this weekend.
Bezzecchi overtook Binder for the spot on the final lap. Binder served an initial long-lap penalty for his collision with Marini, then served another for unceremoniously barging RNF Aprilia's Miguel Oliveira out of the way.
Jack Miller followed KTM team-mate Binder home in seventh, having successfully fought off factory Ducati rider Enea Bastianini - the only rider to dip into the 1m30s range during the race, after having gone down to last on the opening lap and having had to serve a long-lap penalty for the crash he had caused back at Barcelona over a month ago.
Alex Rins marked his first grand prix since his Mugello leg break in June with a ninth place for LCR Honda.
While Vinales ran the medium rear tyre to second place, the three other Aprilias had gone for the fragile soft rear, and it did not work out. Espargaro, a potential victory favourite coming into the race, hounded Bagnaia in the early stages by then sank like a stone, finishing 10th.
Only 14 riders made it to the chequered flag in the attritional race, and one of them - Yamaha's Franco Morbidelli - do so multiple laps down.
In addition to Martin and Marini, there were crashes for Martin's Pramac team-mate Johann Zarco, the factory Honda line-up of Marc Marquez and Joan Mir and the Tech3 Gas Gas line-up of Augusto Fernandez and Pol Espargaro.
|Pos||Name||Car||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|4||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Ducati||27||0||+6.962s||1m31.197s||0||17|