David Alonso picked his moment perfectly on the final lap to claim a third victory of his rookie campaign in the San Marino Moto3, as the 2023 Moto3 World Championship title race bunched up significantly in Misano.
The Colombian once again produced a stealthy performance to work his way into a breakaway quartet during the second-half of an engrossing race before taking full advantage of errors for Jaume Masia and Deniz Oncu ahead on the final lap to pounce for victory.
A third win in four races for the GasGas Aspar rider, the late burst of form sees him latch onto a simmering title fight, one that has opened significantly upon Daniel Holgado suffering his second consecutive zero score with his run to 16th.
After coming through in a dramatic conclusion to the Catalunya Moto3 last weekend, whereas a swarm of 16 riders were still in contention right to the flag in Spain, this time Alonso simply needed to ensure he was within a tight four-strong lead pack in the closing stages.
Initially it seemed the battle for victory would come down to Masia and Oncu as they, along with Diogo Moreira, moved clear of the chasing group in the early stages. However, a mistake by Masia on lap seven simply pushed the whole group into the pursuers, of which Alonso was one.
From here, Alonso was able to keep tabs with the pacemakers, specifically Deniz Oncu, who’d eventually battle his way to the front and largely hold station there to pull Alonso, Masia and also David Munoz clear of those behind.
Coming into the final laps, with victory only ever likely to come down to one of these four riders, Oncu stayed the course in front as the trio behind tripped over one another.
However, after stating his intentions with a fastest lap on the penultimate revolution, Alonso scurried past Masia into second place at Turn 9, only to find himself sucked wide by Oncu doing the same ahead of him, the Turk forced to play cautious after receiving a track limits warning.
That allowed Masia back through on Alonso for second, only for Masia to suffer the same fate at Turn 13 when Oncu - conscious that one more touch of the green paint would earn him a penalty - ran wide and checked up to avoid that fate, taking Masia with him.
It was all the opportunity Alonso needed as he carried his momentum through Turns 13 and into 14 to sweep past both, before holding steady to the flag with Masia latched onto his rear wheel and a frustrated Oncu forced to settle for third.
Another superb result for Alonso in light of his experience at this level, the disparate fortunes of the newcomer and more experienced championship leaders Holgado and Ayumu Sasaki means the the title race - which looked to be comfortably in Holgado’s hands - has now expanded to feature six capable riders in contention.
Holgado endured a horrible morning on the Red Bull KTM Tech3 machine, his strong start initially giving way to a steady decline down the field and eventually into 16th.
He still leads overall from Sasaki, the Japanese rider unable to take full advantage of his rival’s issues in seventh place, while Masia and Oncu move to just 12 and 17 points adrift respectively themselves. Alonso, meanwhile, finds himself just 21 points shy of a potential Pedro Acosta-esque title fight, while Ivan Ortola - who finished eighth after recovering from an early mistake - is 29 points down.
Back in the race, a week after being punted off at the final corner, David Munoz settled for fourth this time, while Colin Veijer came from a long way back to clinch another top five result.
Kaito Toba made the most of his front row start for a sixth place result, ahead of Sasaki, Ortola, Jose Antonio Rueda and Romano Fenati, who completed the top ten.
Another tough day at the office for the Brits, however, would see Josh Whatley 22nd, just ahead of team-mate Scott Ogden in 23rd.