Andrea Dovizioso led a Ducati 1-2 in wet conditions at Sepang to take the race for the MotoGP world championship to the final round in Valencia. The Italian overcame team-mate Jorge Lorenzo to claim his sixth win of the season with title rival Marc Marquez finishing fourth, ensuring he will head into the championship decider 21 points ahead of Dovizioso.
Dani Pedrosa lined up on pole position but remarkably, it was Marquez on the other Repsol Honda who arrived at turn one first after a blistering start and ambitious breaking point. The Spaniard skated wide on the sodden race track, taking Dovizioso with him, allowing Johann Zarco to take an early lead from Lorenzo, Pedrosa and the two title protagonists.
As a lack of wet-weather pace saw Pedrosa drop back, the championship rivals were soon squabbling over third and despite an error at the final corner which almost saw the two collide, Dovizioso was clearly the faster of the two. Under braking for turn four on the fifth lap, Dovizioso finally made the move stick and gave chase after the front two.
Zarco had opened up a 1.6 second lead early on but the pace of the Ducatis in the wet soon overpowered the Frenchman, Lorenzo and Dovizioso passing in quick succession on lap nine. One the pair had taken control of the race, the only question surrounded Ducati’s potential use of team orders to swap their riders around but a slip-up for Jorge at the final corner rendered it academic, as Dovizioso inherited a lead he wouldn’t relinquish.
Zarco maintained third to hand the rookie his second podium of the year while Marquez cruised home in fourth, meaning eleventh or better will secure the championship for the Spaniard in Valencia. Pedrosa fell almost half a minute back in fifth, narrowly holding off Danilo Petrucci who stormed from the back of the grid to finish sixth having stopped on the sighting lap.
Valentino Rossi recovered from a dreadful start to finish seventh ahead of Jack Miller and Maverick Vinales while Pol Espargaro rounded out the top ten for KTM.
2017 Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix – Result
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