Dani Pedrosa romped to his first victory in five months at Sepang this afternoon but Marc Marquez’s second place moved him to within touching distance of the MotoGP world title. Marquez saw off Jorge Lorenzo to finish second behind his teammate and should he outscore Lorenzo by eight points in Australia next weekend, he will become the first premier class rookie since 1978 to win the title.
Lorenzo made his now-customary lightning start from the second row to take the lead at turn one but unlike at Misano, the Yamaha didn’t have the legs to pull away from the Repsol Hondas who swarmed all over the back of him. At the end of lap five, Jorge gave in to the inevitable as Pedrosa breezed past him on the back straight and on the other side of the final hairpin, Marquez would do likewise.
Mindful that he couldn’t let the Hondas get away, Jorge fought straight back into turn four which prompted a feisty attack from his younger compatriot. Marquez twice charged up the inside of the Yamaha but on both occasions, Lorenzo would fight straight back with a move at turn eleven resulting in contact. Marc would try for a third time at turn thirteen on the ninth lap and this time, succeeded by running Lorenzo out of room on the exit, a move the reigning champion wasn’t too impressed with.
From there, the positions remained static with Valentino Rossi a lonely fourth on the second factory Yamaha while Alvaro Bautista stole fifth from Cal Crutchlow on the penultimate lap by outbraking him into final corner. Bradley Smith kept his teammate in sight to finish seventh while Andrea Dovizioso salvaged eighth on another awful day for Ducati which saw two of their four motorcycles failed to finish.
Andrea Iannone suffered a broken steering damper mount on his Pramac Machine while a despondent Nicky Hayden had to pull over on the pit straight with smoke pouring from his machine. Yonny Hernandez did at least bring his GP13 home in tenth for his best result of the year though, trailing CRT winner Aleix Espargaro by two seconds.