Alex De Angelis was the surprise winner of the Malaysian Grand Prix which was delayed, and later halted by heavy rain. The Forward Racing rider held off wet-weather specialists Anthony West and Gino Rea but the Briton was agonisingly close to winning himself having taken the lead moments before the race was red flagged. Meanwhile, Marc Marquez blew the chance to clinch the Moto2 title after crashing late on.
After a half-hour delay due to a torrential downpour following Moto3, the race finally got underway on a soaking track and the usual frontrunners were shuffled back down the order immediately. Takaaki Nakagami led into turn one but crashed before reaching turn two, allowing Bradley Smith and Julian Simon to fight for the lead. The pair were joined by De Angelis by the end of lap one with Gino Rea already up to sixth, a jump of sixteen places from his grid slot, and title contenders Pol Espargaro and Marc Marquez trailing behind the Gresini Suter.
By the end of lap two, the race was finally taking shape with Simon leading De Angelis and a rampant Rea who’d gained another three places. Anthony West was up from nineteenth on the grid to fourth ahead of Thomas Luthi with early leader Smith tumbling down the order.
The next rider to falter on the drying track was Simon who saw De Angelis and Rea storm past him on lap four but another challenger was appearing from behind, perhaps the most unlikely of all. 18 year old Hafizh Syahrin, making his debut as a wildcard, had sliced through the field, claiming the scalps of Simon, Marquez and Smith on his way up to fifth and on lap eight, he dived past Luthi for fourth at the turn nine hairpin.
Almost simultaneously, Rea grabbed the lead from De Angelis but Syahrin, urged on by a passionate home crowd, was in inspired form and made short work of Anthony West later in the lap. The debutant didn’t wait long to grab second from De Angelis, scything past into turn six, and when he hit the brakes for turn nine once again, Hafizh was sailing past Rea to take a scarcely believable lead on just his ninth lap as a Grand Prix rider.
The spectators were starting to dream of a home victory, especially when Syahrin opened out a one second lead but De Angelis got back on terms three laps later, putting a tremendous move on Syahrin and Rea at the final corner, outbraking the pair of them.
The rain started to fall again with six laps to go and the conditions had clearly caught out Marquez who lost the front end of his Suter at turn nine. The champion-elect was battling with Andrea Iannone for seventh but his approach was questionable, especially with Espargaro down in twelfth, and the accident meant the championship would have to wait for another week.
With conditions deteriorating, the front four were desperate to cross the finish line in the lead and Gino Rea managed it on lap sixteen after outbraking De Angelis at the final corner but unfortunately for him, his move was a lap too late. The red flags were thrown seconds later and the result would be calculated at the end of lap fifteen. De Angelis had just about held onto the lead for long enough.
Anthony West was classified second with Rea third for his first Grand Prix podium. After his electrifying performance, Syahrin wasn’t rewarded with a place on the rostrum but still took a fine fourth. The late demise of Thomas Luthi handed fifth to Simon ahead of Iannone, Mika Kallio and Bradley Smith.
Pol Espargaro could only claw his way up to eleventh, effectively killing off his title hopes with 48 points separating him from Marquez, while Scott Redding was another rider to suffer in the wet conditions, coming home a distant twelfth.