Nico Terol started the 125cc season with a brilliantly-judged victory in Qatar.
The Aspar team's new signing played it cautious 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 to leave 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 checkered 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.