Raul Fernandez hit the front after the early crash chaos, carved himself a lead and then managed it to perfection to claim his first Moto3 win in the European Grand Prix.
The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider kept safely ahead of the action behind him, and although the chasing trio reeled him in slowly despite their overtaking moves on each other, dropping his lead from over two seconds to just 0,703s at the line, the Spainiard got his first taste of victory on home soil in his 40th GP.
Last year’s Valencia winner Sergio Garcia made his move on the final lap to slip into second, passing both Tony Arbolino and Ai Ogura, a position he then defended to the line for Estrella Galicia Honda.
An exhausted Ogura held third after he refused to fade away into the pack and made massive championship gains to move to within three points of Albert Arenas after he was on the receiving end of an early accident.
The championship race was blown wide open again when, on just the second lap, Celestino Vietti highsided at the front of the field. His crash saw Alonso Lopez also fall as he tried to avoid what was happening ahead of him, with his bike denting the Aspar of Albert Arenas with his exhaust taking the brunt of his ramming.
Arenas pitted, had his bike fixed and then returned to track. With no chance of points but a race at Ricardo Tormo next weekend dry track time could prove vital. However, the championship leader was shown the blue flag after choosing to mix it with his rivals Arbolino and Ogura in the chasing group.
That soon turned to a black flag as he ignored the warnings. Not in the right frame of mind to continue, he angrily returned to the pit garage once more.
Arbolino had started from 17th on the grid for Rivacold Snipers and made quick gains amidst the early madness to reach the lead group. He finished fourth to keep his title hopes alive.
Darryn Binder lead the chasing pack to the line over twelve seconds behind the race winner, he secured fifth for CIP Green Power.
Carlos Tatay carved out his best ever finish in sixth for Reale Avintia, with Stefano Nepa (Valresa Aspar) managing the same feat as he won a close run to the line with top rookie Jeremy Alcoba (Kommerling Gresini) by just two thousandths of a second.
Filip Salac brought the second Snipers bike home in ninth, ahead of Ayumu Sasaki (Red Bull Tech 3) who completed the top ten.
Riccardo Rossi (BOE Skull Rider Facile Energy) was eleventh, a best for the Italian, just ahead of Andrea Migno in twelfth for Sky Racing Team VR46.
Romano Fenati (Sterligarda Max Racing Team) recovered from his long lap penalty to claim 13th with Deniz Oncu (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) and Gresini’s Gabriel Rodrigo collecting the final points on offer after the latter also served a long lap penalty for clipping Tatsuki Suzuki and playing a part in his crash.
Also in with a distant title shout before the race, Jaume Masia had qualfied down in 28th and worked up to the chasing group before he fell with fourteen laps left to run.
John McPhee slid out of proceeding shortly before that, the Petronas Sprinta rider had been on pole position but fell back through the field fast.
Dennis Foggia was pulled out of the battle for the final points when he received a long lap penalty for exceeding track limits. He ignored that and it was doubled, he then crashed while completing the punishment.
Niccolo Antonelli had started from the back of the grid after a poor qualifying and had climbed to tenth when he slipped out of contention with seven laps to go.
Jason Dupasquier received his long lap penalty for not pulling in under flags in warm-up when a water leak sent smoke all over the track.