A dramatic weekend for the Moto3 World Championship battle saw Marco Bezzecchi taken out at the final corner of the Thai Grand Prix, allowing the injured Jorge Martin to extend a title lead he was in danger of losing.
The last lap began with Bezzecchi leading and Martin in seventh - positions which, if they had been replicated at the finish, would have seen the Gresini rider's 13-point advantage over Bezzecchi turn into a 3-point disadvantage.
Martin, a dominant winner at Aragon, had suffered a freak injury in the form of tendon inflammation in his right arm while having a massage following Friday practice at Buriram.
“The Clinica touched a nerve that shouldn’t have been touched. I cannot open my hand now meaning I can’t change gears the way I’d like to. If the situation does not improve I might even have to sit out the race, so we’ll see," Martin said after qualifying.
With Bezzecchi qualifying on pole, Martin looked in real trouble - but would emerge with an extended 26-point title lead after a brave ride was combined with a nightmare final corner for Bezzecchi.
Bezzecchi's last lap problems began when he dropped from first to third at Turn 4, between Leopard riders Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Enea Bastianini, with Fabio di Giannantonio in the lead.
As the field reached the final 90-degree right hander, di Giannantonio took a defence line to ensure victory, with Dalla Porta and Bezzecchi remaining on the wider racing line to try and get a better exit.
But Bastianini launched a move up the inside from fourth, passing Bezzecchi but then unable to make the corner - losing the front of his Honda as he came within millimetres of wiping out team-mate Dalla Porta.
Bezzecchi wasn't as fortunate and was side-swiped by the fallen Leopard machine, sending the KTM rider to the ground. It was the third time this season that Bezzecchi has fallen on the final lap, plus a penultimate lap accident in Misano.
"I don't know what to say," said the PrüstelGP rider. "Another crash in the last lap, this time even in the last corner. It annoys me because I crashed out because of another rider."
Team-mate Jakub Kornfeil was also delayed by the incident, which dropped him from sixth to tenth.
"When Enea Bastianini crashed into Marco at the last corner I was right behind the two and had to go wide," said the Czech rider. "I fought all the way through the race to get a good position and then lost the place in the last 100m."
"Marco would certainly have reached the podium and Jakub was very close to the podium," commented PrüstelGP Technical Director Florian Chiffoleau. "Unfortunately, Enea Bastianini destroyed the hopes of both our pilots. Bastianini braked very late in the last corner and crashed into Marco.
"We were strong all the weekend and we are even more disappointed that the race ended like this. We stay focused and think positively for the next race in Japan. "
Bastianini apologised for the incident: “I strongly wanted the podium but at the last corner I could not avoid the fall: I'm very sorry to have hit Marco."
Meanwhile, the final turn chaos meant Martin was promoted from seventh to fourth.
“What a crazy weekend!" he said. "I wasn’t completely comfortable with the bike, but also what happened with the clinica was absolutely unexpected. I still cannot open my hand due to the nerve, so using the clutch was very, very difficult.
"We had to manufacture a special Alpinestars glove in order for me to change gears, which was a work of art. Yesterday I thought about not racing, but then I saw a couple of crashes and thought about riding through pain and discomfort - and it went well.”
Despite the bitter disappointment, Bezzecchi has vowed to come back stronger in the four remaining rounds.
"We had a very strong weekend - we worked hard and made big steps forward, with the initial difficulties we had," he said. "The bike ran perfectly in the race and I was also very strong. The next race is coming and I'm coming back even stronger."
Meanwhile, di Giannantonio is now just three points from Bezzecchi and 29 from team-mate Martin.
"It was the most difficult race of my career. Temperatures were sky high and it was difficult to stay upright while battling with so many riders for the win. We put our hearts in it and won an extremely important race for our championship hopes," di Giannantonio said.
"Let’s enjoy this success while we can because we need to be ready for the three back-to-back races if we want to get to Valencia with a shot at the title."
Martin (Ajo KTM), Bezzecchi (Tech3 KTM) and di Giannantonio (Speed Up) will all join Moto2 in 2019.