Lap 10 and de Angelis fell at the final corner, from ninth, and despite hitting his head hard enough to knock off his visor, the San Marinese rider appeared relatively unharmed.
Into the final third of an unusually quiet 125cc GP and Pedrosa was back on the ball and now enjoying a 3.5second lead over Vincent, with Poggiali and Jenkner still running in tandem a further 3secs behind in a fight for the podium that looked destined to be decided only on the last lap – or would it, as Jenkner overtook the reigning World Champion on lap 15.
See his dreams of retaining his title slipping away further, Poggiali forced his way back by the hard riding German – only for Jenkner to retaliate – before the San Marinese finally made it stick by the start of lap 17.
Three to go and drama as Vincent had a heartbreaking mechanical failure and despite his desperate efforts to fix the hidden problem – that was slowing, but not stopping the Aprilia, Poggiali and Jenkner blasted past the stricken #21 machine, with Poggiali now seeing his championship hopes revived.
When Vincent passed the pits next time around the off tone sound from his Aprilia indicated an exhaust problem (which was alter confirmed). The loss of power meant that by the penultimate lap Vincent was down to twelfth – throwing runaway race leader Pedrosa back into the championship hunt as well as Poggiali – whose second place was now even more vital.
Pedrosa went on to take victory by a massive 10seconds from Poggiali and Jenkner, with Vincent dropping 30secs a lap by that point, but he bravely hung on to take 15th place a one World Championship point.
In start contrast to Pedrosa's jubilant celebrations, Vincent returned to his Imola team pit box slumped over the petrol tank and totally inconsolable – but when he gets over the disappointment he'll realise that with three races (staring in Sepang next weekend) left it's not over by any means.
Vincent now leads the 125cc World Championship by just 8 points from Poggiali, with Pedrosa a further 16 back and in with a chance.
Of note was the fact that fellow Aprilia rider Lucio Cecchinello also suffered a broken exhaust, making a post mortem vital for the Italian marque if they are to avoid such problems in the future.
“I'm lucky today, but I havne't been before,” stated 'The Pog' in the press conference. “It was a good race today and the second position was very, very good for the championship.”
Full results to follow…