Nico Terol started the 125cc season with a brilliantly-judged victory in Qatar.
The Aspar team's new signing bided his time in the early laps, hanging back in the spectacular seven-bike battle for the lead, before forging to the front with four laps to go and then charging away and leaving his rivals to fight among themselves.
For most of the race the lead battle was between Efren Vazquez and polesitter Marc Marquez, with Pol Espargaro, Terol, Randy Krummenacher, Sandro Cortese and Esteve Rabat hot on their heels. The lead changed hands at least 15 times in the first 14 laps, primarily between Marquez and Vazquez, but with Espargaro and Rabat also managing a few inches in front.
Terol kept a low profile during this stunning handlebar-to-handlebar dice at first, then started showing his pace in the closing stages. He worked his way to the front by lap 14, and then broke his pursuers' challenge with a series of new fastest laps.
By the chequered flag Terol was able to wrap up his third career victory with a relatively comfortable 2.3-second cushion, leading an all-Spanish top four.
Vazquez just edged out Marquez for second, taking his maiden podium in the process, with Espargaro, Cortese, Krummenacher and Rabat right behind them.
Terol's team-mate Bradley Smith had jumped to fifth at the start, but was soon shuffled out of the lead pack, and in the end had to settle for eighth after a tough squabble with Tomoyoshi Koyama and Alexis Masbou.
Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap 1. Nicolas Terol Aprilia 38m25.644s 2. Efren Vazquez Derbi + 2.395s 3. Marc Marquez Derbi + 2.420s 4. Pol Espargaro Derbi + 2.840s 5. Sandro Cortese Derbi + 3.526s 6. Randy Krummenacher Aprilia + 3.569s 7. Esteve Rabat Aprilia + 3.692s 8. Bradley Smith Aprilia + 13.719s 9. Tomoyoshi Koyama Aprilia + 14.337s 10. Alexis Masbou Aprilia + 15.917s 11. Daniel Webb Aprilia + 28.744s 12. Johann Zarco Aprilia + 35.667s 13. Alberto Moncayo Aprilia + 36.831s 14. Jasper Iwema Aprilia + 36.854s 15. Jonas Folger Aprilia + 38.899s 16. Marcel Schrotter Honda + 38.991s 17. Louis Rossi Aprilia + 42.056s 18. Sturla Fagerhaug Aprilia + 51.351s 19. Jakub Kornfeil Aprilia + 56.496s 20. Adrian Martin Aprilia + 56.750s 21. Muhammad Zulfahmi Aprilia + 1m21.998s 22. Luca Marconi Aprilia + 1m32.074s 23. Quentin Jacquet Aprilia + 1m52.842s Retirements: Marco Ravaioli Lambretta 4 laps Luis Salom Lambretta 2 laps Lorenzo Savadori Aprilia 0 laps