Danny Kent missed another opportunity to become the first Briton to claim a grand prix motorcycle racing world championship in 38 years after a seventh-place finish in Moto3 at Sepang.
The series' Malaysian Grand Prix offered Kent a third chance to wrap up the 2015 title, having had earlier opportunities at Phillip Island and Motegi, and a fifth-place finish or higher would have given the 21-year-old an unassailable lead in the standings.
Kent occupied that position on the final lap but lost out first to Niccolo Antonelli, and then to Jakub Kornfeil at the final corner, which relegated the Briton to seventh at the flag.
With sole-remaining championship contender Miguel Oliveira snatching victory at the last corner from his Ajo Motorsport team-mate Brand Binder, Kent now leads by 24 points heading to the season finale at Valencia in a fortnight's time, with a maximum of 25 still up for grabs.
Kent had qualified in sixth but started the race in ninth, having been awarded a second penalty in as many weeks for riding too slowly on the racing line during practice.
In a ragged early few laps, Kent fell as low as 16th on his Kiefer-run Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW, before regaining some ground to 12th.
He moved into the top 10 for the first time when his team-mates Hiroki Ono and Efren Vazquez crashed at Turn 2 and had caught the back of the leading pack by the middle of the race.
Kent's charge was aided by Francesco Bagnaia dropping his Mahindra at the final corner with three laps to go.
After passing Kornfeil on the run to Turn 1, he then assumed fifth when Antonelli was nudged out wide - only to lose out after a scrap on the final lap as the pack concertinaed up.
Kent now faces a nervous wait to be crowned champion, but will secure the title as long as he finishes the final race in 14th or higher, regardless of Oliveira's result.
LEADING FINISHERS - 18 LAPS:
|1||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||40m33.277s|
|2||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Ajo||KTM||0.089s|
|3||Jorge Navarro||Estrella Galicia 0,0||Honda||0.273s|
|5||Romano Fenati||SKY Racing Team VR46||KTM||0.416s|
|6||Jakub Kornfeil||Drive M7 SIC||KTM||0.530s|
|7||Danny Kent||Leopard Racing||Honda||0.590s|
|8||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Racing Team Moto3||Honda||4.004s|
|9||Alexis Masbou||SaxoPrint RTG||Honda||6.990s|
|10||John McPhee||SaxoPrint RTG||Honda||10.030s|
LEADING CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS: