Scott Redding claimed his first Moto2 victory – and the championship lead with it – in a crash-filled, truncated race at Le Mans.
Redding, the first non-Spanish victor in any of the MotoGP classes this season, recovered from a terrible start to win a race which was cut short by red flags two laps from the finish.
He now holds a 24-point lead in the championship after Esteve Rabat and his Pons teammate Pol Espargaro suffered identical – but separate – crashes early on.
Poleman Takaaki Nakagami led the field away as Redding plummeted to ninth with a dreadful start. Espargaro rocketed up the order from seventh and led by the end of the opening lap, before losing out to Nakagami and Rabat into Turn 1 at the start of the third.
The two Pons Kalex riders then crashed simultaneously at Museum Corner, dropping their bikes in identical fashion on the entry and sliding into the gravel. Espargaro rejoined, down in 26th, while Rabat headed for the pits.
This was the start of a chaotic couple of laps, as Dominique Aegerter appeared in second place - having started 13th - while Jordi Torres and Thomas Luthi both crashed.
Johann Zarco reclaimed second from Aegerter, who then lost out to Xavier Simeon and then Redding, as Nakagami extended his lead to three seconds. But the Japanese rider pushed too hard at the start of the eighth lap, setting the fastest first sector of the race at that point before crashing in the same place as the Pons pair had previously.
Following Nakagami out of the race was Toni Elias, who had stormed to 10th having been forced to start from the back of the grid, as Redding made the most of the action around him to take the lead from Zarco.
Mika Kallio passed Aegerter, Simeon and Zarco - who fell back as the race progressed - to make a late bid for second. Three laps from the end he almost threw it away, a mistake dropping him behind Simeon, but the red flag meant he was reinstated to second on countback.
Aegerter finished fourth, just ahead of Zarco, with Mattia Pasini sixth after a race-long fight with Mike di Meglio. Espargaro's recovery only went as far as 20th, more than a minute behind Redding.
Results - 22 laps (red flag):
Pos Rider Team/Bike Time/Gap
1. Scott Redding Marc VDS Kalex 36m43.583s
2. Mika Kallio Marc VDS Kalex + 1.090s
3. Xavier Simeon SAG Kalex + 1.234s
4. Dominique Aegerter Technomag Suter + 1.701s
5. Johann Zarco Ioda Suter + 1.859s
6. Mattia Pasini Forward Speed Up + 12.272s
7. Mike di Meglio JiR Motobi + 12.378s
8. Julian Simon Italtrans Kalex + 29.712s
9. Anthony West QMMF Speed Up + 30.479s
10. Alex de Angelis Forward Speed Up + 31.235s
11. Randy Krummenacher Technomag Suter + 31.535s
12. Simone Corsi Forward Speed Up + 31.675s
13. Sandro Cortese Intact Kalex + 31.917s
14. Marcel Schrotter SAG Kalex + 35.778s
15. Louis Rossi Tech 3 + 45.045s
16. Danny Kent Tech 3 + 45.151s
17. Alberto Moncayo Arginano Speed Up + 55.456s
18. Yuki Takahashi Tady Moriwaki + 59.886s
19. Doni Tata Pradita Gresini Suter + 1m02.095s
20. Pol Espargaro Pons Kalex + 1m06.414s
21. Steven Odendaal Arginano Speed Up + 1m48.007s
22. Hafizh Syahrin Petronas Kalex + 1 lap
23. Esteve Rabat Pons Kalex + 2 laps
24. Rafid Topan Sucipto QMMF Speed Up + 3 laps
Ricard Cardus Forward peed Up 22 laps
Gino Rea Gino Rea FTR 19 laps
Toni Elias Avintia Kalex 17 laps
Nicolas Terol Aspar Suter 12 laps
Takaaki Nakagami Italtrans Kalex 6 laps
Thomas Luthi Paddock Suter 4 laps
Jordi Torres Aspar Suter 2 laps
Kyle Smith Avintia Kalex 0 laps
Axel Pons Pons Kalex 0 laps
Ratthapark Wilairot Gresini Suter 0 laps