Spain’s Dani Pedrosa won the Malaysian Grand Prix for the second year in a row but his compatriot Marc Marquez finished second to move to the brink of clinching the Moto GP title in his rookie season.
Pedrosa, nursing a badly injured hip from a crash he blamed on a collision with Marquez that ended his race in Aragon two weeks ago, made a point to his Honda team-mate with a dominant ride to claim his third victory of the season. Marquez, though, prevailed in a fierce battle with his closest title rival, world champion Jorge Lorenzo, and passed the Yamaha rider with 11 laps remaining to claim the 20 points awarded for second place.
Victory for Marquez next week in Australia combined with anything worse than second place for Lorenzo would hand the 20-year-old the world title with two races to spare.
Marquez said claiming the points for the championship race at the sweeping Sepang circuit had been more important than pushing for a seventh victory of the season. “We had a great battle with Jorge, and Dani opened up this gap,” he said. “And when I overtook Jorge, I tried to close this gap but it was too much risk. So I said, ‘Okay, I will finish second, and that is enough after the Malaysian Grand Prix’.”