Bradley Smith finally scored his first 125cc victory at the 50th attempt, as he dominated today's Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez.
The British Aspar Aprilia rider also jumped from seventh to a very close second in the championship after both Andrea Iannone and Julian Simon - who had monopolised the leading positions in the opening two rounds - crashed out.
Smith and his team-mate Simon quickly got away from the pack at the start, while Iannone's hopes of a third straight win ended with half a lap as he slid into a low-side accident. Although the Italian rejoined, he could only finish 19th.
Simon kept the pressure on Smith for the first five laps, before he had an accident of his own - flying off the track in a dramatic high-side at a fast left-hander.
The Aprilia duo's pace had been such that they were already nine seconds clear of the rest of the field by the time Simon crashed. That meant all Smith had to do was cruise through the remaining 18 laps to clinch victory, although he extended his advantage to as much as 20s as his pursuers battled with each other.
You always try to picture your first win, but this is nothing like it," said Smith. "It's been a long time coming, but I'm glad I waited and worked hard.
"Today the bike was awesome right from the start and that's why I was able to win this race - I could do mid 1m47s right from the word go. With eight laps to go I had a problem with fifth gear and nearly crashed. I managed to work around the problem though and get to the finish."
Up to a dozen bikes fought over second place, in a dice that gave the spectators plenty of entertainment while Smith dominated.
It looked like German rookie Jonas Folger might make it onto the podium as he charged from the back of the grid following a technical failure in qualifying, but he tangled with Pol Espargaro at the final corner on the penultimate lap as he tried to grab second.
While Folger fell and Espargaro ran wide, Sergio Gadea was able to slip through to complete an Aspar one-two behind team-mate Smith, with his compatriot Marc Marquez also taking a home podium for Red Bull KTM.
Scott Redding made it two British drivers in the top four, ahead of Efren Vazquez, who claimed a career-best fifth on home ground. Sandro Cortese and the frustrated Espargaro, who had been set to take the championship lead until the incident with Folger, finished sixth and seventh.
Pos Rider Bike Time 1. Bradley Smith Aprilia 41m49.556s 2. Sergio Gadea Aprilia + 13.524s 3. Marc Marquez KTM + 13.553s 4. Scott Redding Aprilia + 14.251s 5. Efren Vazquez Derbi + 14.758s 6. Sandro Cortese Derbi + 15.545s 7. Pol Espargaro Derbi + 15.556s 8. Daniel Webb Aprilia + 17.772s 9. Dominique Aegerter Derbi + 18.960s 10. Nicolas Terol Aprilia + 19.053s 11. Joan Olive Derbi + 32.480s 12. Esteve Rabat Aprilia + 32.554s 13. Johann Zarco Aprilia + 33.378s 14. Simone Corsi Aprilia + 41.533s 15. Cameron Beaubier KTM + 44.443s 16. Takaaki Nakagami Aprilia + 44.738s 17. Randy Krummenacher Aprilia + 44.934s 18. Lorenzo Zanetti Aprilia + 44.977s 19. Andrea Iannone Aprilia + 55.464s 20. Lukas Sembera Aprilia +1m05.314s 21. Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia +1m07.420s 22. Alberto Moncayo Aprilia +1m16.825s 23. Luis Salom Honda +1m25.188s 24. Jasper Iwema Honda +1m28.903s 25. Luca Marconi Aprilia +1m29.012s 26. Borja Maestro Aprilia + 1 lap 27. Jordi Dalmau Honda + 1 lap 28. Eduard Lopez Aprilia + 1 lap Retirements: Jonas Folger Aprilia 21 laps Tomoyoshi Koyama Loncin 21 laps Alexis Masbou Loncin 13 laps Luca Vitali Aprilia 10 laps Stefan Bradl Aprilia 8 laps Julian Simon Aprilia 5 laps Michael Ranseder Haojue 0 laps