After qualifying on pole position, defending World Champion Marc Márquez went hard out of the blocks on a hard rear tire to build up a lead of over four seconds, and he seemed well on course to repeat his victory of the previous weekend in Austin.
However, as the Spanish rider’s tires began to feel the strain of leading at such a pace, Valentino Rossi - on an extra hard rear - reeled him in and the pair went head to head in the final two laps.
When the duo squared up for a gripping fight for the win, there was a moment of contact as Márquez attempted to re-take the lead after Rossi had squeezed past him. When the Yamaha rider then managed to get ahead, World Champion Márquez touched the rear tire of his rival and crashed out of the race, as a dramatic MotoGP encounter was settled.
Cal Crutchlow snatched third position coming out of the final corner on the last lap with a brave move, to complete the podium behind Andrea Dovizioso, and there had been earlier drama when Yonny Hernández’s Ducati caught fire in the opening laps.