Roby Rolfo withstood immense pressure from fellow Italian Alex de Angelis to win a cracking Malaysian Moto2 Grand Prix and in the process score his first world championship victory since Jerez 2004.
The 30-year-old Italtrans STR Suter rider needed all of his experience to outfox fellow veteran de Angelis on the last lap as the pair circulated as one, with the Motobi rider frequently ducking out of the tow, but ultimately in vain.
Toni Elias was crowned the first ever Moto2 champion with fourth place after a similarly breathless fight with Andrea Iannone for third place.
That position eventually went to Iannone after the pair had dropped off an absorbing four-way fight for the lead in the final few laps.
Iannone, who led for several laps himself before making a couple of mistakes on lap 15, eventually managed to maintain third from the Spanish Gresini rider.
Elias didn't care though, a world title finally in his pocket, he stopped on the slowdown lap to change into a silver suit for the inevitable celebration.
Elias's only challenger for the championship, Julian Simon, self-imploded with two huge mistakes within a lap of one another early on.
The Spaniard had dropped to ninth from pole, but fought his way back into the leading group only to send his Aspar-run Suter down the road at the quick right-hander behind the pits on lap eight. By that stage though he was suffering from red mist, having already backed the bike up at Turn 2, dropping back to ninth.
He rejoined to eventually finish 21st, releasing Elias from any remaining championship pressure to focus on the fight at the front.
Alex Debon, who is set to retire at the end of the year, made it a good day for the veterans with fifth place. That position had previously been occupied by Scott Redding, but the young Briton was eventually forced to retire through exhaustion in the extreme humidity.
Karel Abraham eventually took sixth following a massive battle with Stefan Bradl and Dominique Aegerter. Jules Cluzel and Simone Corsi completed the top 10.
Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap 1. Roberto Rolfo Suter 41m09.412s 2. Alex de Angelis Motobi + 0.040s 3. Andrea Iannone Speed Up + 5.915s 4. Toni Elias Moriwaki + 6.322s 5. Alex Debon FTR + 11.912s 6. Karel Abraham FTR + 12.458s 7. Stefan Bradl Suter + 12.519s 8. Dominique Aegerter Suter + 12.589s 9. Jules Cluzel Suter + 15.010s 10. Simone Corsi Motobi + 16.707s 11. Hector Faubel Suter + 20.179s 12. Alex Baldolini ICP + 20.462s 13. Yonny Hernandez BQR + 21.638s 14. Michael Ranseder Suter + 22.388s 15. Claudio Corti Suter + 24.512s 16. Ratthapark Wilairot Bimota + 26.366s 17. Axel Pons Pons Kalex + 30.730s 18. Kenny Noyes Promoharris + 31.080s 19. Fonsi Nieto Moriwaki + 32.239s 20. Valentin Debise ADV + 33.804s 21. Julian Simon Suter + 39.448s 22. Mohamad Zamri Baba Moriwaki + 46.031s 23. Joan Olive Promoharris + 47.257s 24. Anthony West MZ + 50.058s 25. Kazuki Watanabe Suter + 50.830s 26. Mike di Meglio Suter + 51.971s 27. Robertino Pietri Suter + 59.155s 28. Hiromichi Kunikawa Bimota + 1m16.759s 29. Mashel Al Naimi BQR + 1m43.949s Retirements: Gabor Talmacsi Speed Up 13 laps Scott Redding Suter 13 laps Sergio Gadea Pons Kalex 13 laps Raffaele De Rosa Tech 3 10 laps Yuki Takahashi Tech 3 8 laps Thomas Luthi Moriwaki 7 laps Vladimir Ivanov Moriwaki 6 laps Javier Fores Bimota 6 laps Ferruccio Lamborghini Moriwaki 6 laps Yannick Guerra Moriwaki 1 lap