Sandro Cortese came out on top of a superb last-lap battle with Johann Zarco to take his first career 125cc World Championship race win in the Czech Grand Prix at Brno.
Having lost the lead at the start of the final lap to Zarco, Cortese retook the advantage into Turn 4 and held it as far as the penultimate corner of the race. Zarco stuck his Ajo Derbi inside the Racing Team Germany Aprilia, edging slightly ahead as the pair came within inches of colliding. But the Frenchman then clipped the inside curb at the final corner, flinging his bike sideways and leaving Cortese clear.
Cortese, who was making his 108th grand prix start, became the first German to win a 125cc World Championship race since Stefan Bradl in Japan three years ago.
The pair had initially fought for the lead with polesitter Nico Terol. The championship leader would not make it to the end though, his Aspar Aprilia slowing out of the first corner on lap nine and then grinding to a halt halfway round the lap. His retirement meant that his championship lead was slashed from 32 points to 12 over Zarco, who missed out on victory by 0.397sec.
Behind the leading duo, there was a six-way battle for third that was reduced to four when Efren Vazquez crashed his Ajo Derbi on lap 13, delaying Miguel Oliveira in the process. That meant that with the exception of Zarco, the remainder of the top 10 were all on Aprilia machinery and meant the fight for the final rostrum spot was between Blusens teammates Sergio Gadea and Maverick Vinales, Aspar rider Hector Faubel and the Andalucia Banca Civica machine of Alberto Moncayo. The quartet barely managed to maintain station between two corners, ensuring that the fight went down to the final lap – by which time Moncayo's teammate Oliveira had hauled himself back into contention.
It was Moncayo who claimed his maiden podium finish, the Spaniard just 0.019sec ahead of Faubel with Gadea and Vinales completing the top six as Oliviera crashed out at the final corner.
Jakub Kornfeil equaled his season's best result with seventh spot for the Ongetta team while Simone Grotzki and Zulfahmi Khairrudin career-best eighth and ninth spots for the Phonica Aprilia and Ajo Derbi squads, respectively.
Retirements for Danny Kent, Alexis Masbou and Niklas Ajo all helped promote the Ongetta bikes of Jasper Iwema and Harry Stafford to 10th and 13th. Between them Luigi Morciano took his first championship points in 11th and Britain's Danny Webb finished 12th on his Mahindra.