Thomas Luthi scored his first win of the 2012 Moto2 championship with a masterful ride in wet conditions at Le Mans, moving to within three points of the championship lead in the process.
Erstwhile points leader Marc Marquez suffered his first retirement since Silverstone last year, crashing out while running fifth 10 laps into the race. A spate of late incidents allowed Pol Espargaro to finish sixth and move one point clear of Marquez.
Starting from second, Luthi (Paddock Suter) stayed near the front during the early chaos and then moved into the lead seven laps in.
The chasing pack initially stayed with him, but as the race progressed so did Luthi's gap, extending past the three-second mark at the halfway stage.
Last year's 125cc runner-up Johann Zarco had threatened to turn the race into a grandstand finish, closing steadily on Luthi in the final laps, but with just four to run the JIR Motobi rider high-sided out at Turn 10.
The weather kept things tense, worsening in the final laps, but with Zarco's exit Luthi was able to come home untroubled and collect his third victory across all categories at Le Mans.
Claudio Corti (Italtrans Kalex) claimed his first grand prix podium in second, while Marc VDS's Scott Redding claimed his first of the year in third.
Difficult conditions did not translate into the multitude of crashes seen in Moto3's earlier race, but incidents nonetheless played their part in determining the outcome of the race - not least in Marquez's early exit.
Tech 3's Bradley Smith was another to suffer. Up to fourth in the opening stages, he ran wide and lost huge ground on lap eight. He fought his way back and was set to finish sixth, but lost the bike on the final turn and eventually dragged it to 10th.
His woe was Espargaro's gain, as the Pons Kalex rider - who had been running near the front early on - claimed sixth, and with it the points lead, in his stead.
Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) and Mika Kallio (Marc VDS Kalex) finished ahead of Espargaro in fourth and fifth.
Anthony West (QMMF Moriwaki), Max Neukirchner (Kiefer Kalex) and Gresini's Ratthapark Wilairot occupied seventh through to ninth, ahead of the returning Smith.