A second victory in a row for Toni Elias, combined with a non-finish for Shoya Tomizawa, has propelled the Spaniard into an unexpectedly large 18-point title lead after three rounds of the inaugural Moto2 season.
Elias - the only Moto2 competitor with race wins in 125, 250 and MotoGP - had been the clear pre-season favourite until an accident on the last day of testing left him with hand and foot injuries.
But the Gresini Moriwaki rider took solid points with fourth in the Qatar season-opener, won by Tomizawa, then benefitted from the cancellation of the Japanese round to regain further fitness in time for Jerez.
A close home victory over Tomizawa marked Toni's first grand prix win since Portugal 2006 and put Elias within seven points of the Japanese heading into last Sunday's round at Le Mans.
Elias then kept his head in crash-packed race, where Tomizawa was one of eleven riders that failed to finish, and has suddenly jumped head-and-shoulders clear at the head of the field.
"This is the first weekend that I've felt more or less okay with the injuries I sustained during pre-season testing,” said Elias. “I'm still not 100 per cent, but on the bike I could ride 100 per cent, so the injuries weren't a problem in the race.
"I ran with the front group and when the tyres started to go off I was able to manage the situation better than the other guys and secure the win.
"It is my second consecutive victory and I'm leading the championship but I don't want to think about that just now.
"It is important to take things race by race without thinking too much about the ultimate objective,” stated Elias, who is hoping to use Moto2 title victory as springboard back into MotoGP.
"We lead the championship but there is a long way to go and we can't start dreaming,” confirmed team manager Fausto Gresini. “We have to keep working, take each round as it comes and we'll start to worry about the end result later."
Even he fails to finish the next round at Mugello, Elias (pictured at a Monster PR event prior to the Le Mans weekend) will be no worse than second in the championship, with third-placed Simone Corsi already 28 points behind him.