Joan Mir claimed his maiden MotoGP™ race win at the European Grand Prix to strengthen his position at the top of the championship standings.
Having gone into the weekend with a 14-point lead over Fabio Quartararo, the Spaniard extended his advantage as he finally ended his wait for success in the premier class.
The Suzuki Ecstar rider ducked inside team-mate Alex Rins with 11 laps remaining and went on to pull clear in the closing stages, allowing him to coast over the finishing line.
His triumph, coupled with a disastrous outing for Quartararo, could be pivotal in the title race. Mir now sits 37 points clear of the Frenchman, who is tied with Rins, with just two rounds remaining.
Quartararo's hopes of closing the gap disappeared when he came off his bike at Turn 8 - the same spot where Mir would later claim the lead. While able to get going again, the Petronas Yamaha rider finished up in 14th place to pick up just two points.
Mir is the ninth different race winner in a 2020 season disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic and also without reigning champion Marc Marquez, who remains sidelined through injury.
Rins had passed polesitter Pol Espargaro in the early stages but was runner-up for a second successive race, giving Suzuki their first 1-2 result since 1982.
Espargaro had to settle for third, putting him on the podium for the fourth time this year, with Takaaki Nakagami in fourth.
As for Valentino Rossi, his return was cut short by a technical issue. The Italian was cleared to race again on Saturday having missed the previous two races after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar)
- Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) +0.651s
- Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +1.203s
- Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) +2.194s
- Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull Tech 3) +8.046s
- Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) +8.755s
- Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +10.137s
- Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati) +10.801s
- Johann Zarco (Esponsorama Racing) +11.550s
- Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) +16.803s
- Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) 162
- Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha) 125
- Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) 125
- Maverick Vinales (Monster Energy Yamaha) 121
- Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha) 117
- Suzuki Ecstar 287
- Petronas Yamaha 242
- Ducati 194
- Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 182
- Monster Energy Yamaha 179
Mir could well seal the deal at the same venue, as the Valencia Grand Prix takes place in a week. After that, this year's schedule concludes with the Portuguese Grand Prix, which takes place on November 22.