Andrea Dovizioso ended a seven year victory drought in superb style by beating Valentino Rossi in a wet weather duel at Sepang. The Ducati rider outlasted his compatriot in a race which saw three of the five leading protagonists crash out to become MotoGP’s ninth different winner of the season, a new premier class record.
The preceding Moto2 race had started wet before drying out but any hopes of favourable conditions for the MotoGP race were washed away by another torrential downpour, causing a 20 minute delay. The riders soon made up for lost time though with four different riders leading over the cause of a thrilling opening lap.
Rossi emerged from it all in front, having outbraked Dovizioso into the final corner while Andrea Iannone shadowed his teammate. Marc Marquez held fourth ahead of Cal Crutchlow with Jorge Lorenzo, who had grabbed the holeshot at the start, becoming detached in sixth. The aggressive Iannone hit the front for the first time on lap two after diving past Rossi but as the circuit began to dry out, the five way fight for victory descended into a battle of attrition.
Crutchlow was the first to crack, losing the front end of his LCR Honda at turn two on lap twelve, and the other Honda would also disappear from the leading group half a lap later when Marquez careered into the turn eleven gravel trap. Rossi was left all alone against the two factory Ducatis but moments after being passed by the Doctor, Iannone also took a tumble at turn nine, leaving us with a two horse race.
The decisive moment came with five laps remaining as Rossi overshot the first corner, leaving the door wide open for Dovizioso, and with the no.46 Yamaha encountering tyre trouble, Andrea’s path was clear to take a hugely popular victory, just the second of his MotoGP career.
Rossi took second to ensure he will finish the year as championship runner-up while Lorenzo all-but secured third overall with a podium finish, a much-needed confidence boost after his recent wet-weather struggles. Hector Barbera saw off Avintia team-mate Loris Baz for a fine fourth while Maverick Vinales brought his Suzuki home in sixth, the Spaniard left wishing the race had stayed dry.
Alvaro Bautista took seventh for Aprilia after winning his battle with Jack Miller while Pol Espargaro and Danilo Petrucci rounded out the top ten, just ahead of the recovering Marquez.
2016 Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix (Race Result)
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