Sepang MotoGP: Marc Marquez wins after Valentino Rossi crashes

Marc Marquez took a comfortable ninth victory of the 2018 MotoGP season in the Malaysian Grand Prix after long-time leader Valentino Rossi crashed

Sepang MotoGP: Marc Marquez wins after Valentino Rossi crashes

From second on the grid, Rossi outdragged poleman Johann Zarco to take the lead into the first corner and from there proceeded to build a lead of more than a second.

Marquez meanwhile quickly set about making up for his six-place grid penalty for impeding Andrea Iannone in qualifying and by the end of the fifth lap of 20 he had taken up station behind Rossi.

Initially Rossi was able to extend the gap over his former arch-rival, but as the race moved into its second half Marquez began to chip away at the Yamaha rider's advantage.

Closing in at around a tenth per lap, Marquez had managed to get within 0.6 seconds of Rossi when the Italian rider suffered a low-speed crash at Turn 1 with three laps to go, denying the crowd a repeat of the pair's infamous 2015 Sepang duel.

Marquez inherited a lead of four seconds over Zarco as a result of Rossi's incident, and from there he was able to cruise to a straightforward 1.8s win and clinch the constructors' title for Honda.

Zarco was passed for second by the Suzuki of Alex Rins on the final lap at Turn 4, allowing Rins to equal his career-best result, while Zarco held on for third to claim his first podium finish since May.

Maverick Vinales could well have contended for victory but for his poor grid slot of 11th, which left him losing time stuck behind the Nieto Ducati of Alvaro Bautista in the early laps.

He made steady progress in the second half of the race, passing the second Honda of Dani Pedrosa on lap 14 to take fifth - which would become fourth when team-mate Rossi crashed.

Pedrosa's fifth place equals his best result of a difficult 2018 season, while Andrea Dovizioso endured a low-key run to sixth on the best of the Ducatis.

Dovizioso, winner of the last two MotoGP races at Sepang, had climbed as high as fourth in the early laps only to drop behind Rins, Pedrosa and Vinales as the race went on.

Sixth was still sufficient for Dovizioso to seal second place in the championship as rival Rossi failed to score.

Bautista led home a trio of satellite Ducati riders in seventh ahead of Pramac pair Jack Miller, whose gamble on a medium rear tyre didn't pay off, and Danilo Petrucci.

Hafizh Syahrin stormed from 23rd and last on the grid to 12th on the opening lap, and managed to secure the final top 10 position on a day he became the first Malaysian to start a premier class grand prix.

Aleix Espargaro was 11th ahead of Franco Morbidelli, LCR Honda stand-in Stefan Bradl, Takaaki Nakagami and Bradley Smith.

Rossi remounted and finished 18th.

Among the other crashers were Andrea Iannone, who lost the front end of his Suzuki on lap one at Turn 15 while following Marquez, and Jorge Lorenzo's Ducati replacement Michele Pirro.

Race result

Pos Rider Team Bike Laps Gap
1 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 20 40m32.372s
2 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 20 1.898s
3 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 20 2.474s
4 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 20 4.667s
5 Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 20 6.190s
6 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 20 11.248s
7 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati Ducati 20 15.611s
8 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 20 19.009s
9 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 20 22.921s
10 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 20 26.919s
11 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 20 29.503s
12 Franco Morbidelli MVDS Honda Honda 20 30.933s
13 Stefan Bradl LCR Honda Honda 20 35.322s
14 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 20 37.912s
15 Bradley Smith KTM KTM 20 39.675s
16 Thomas Luthi MVDS Honda Honda 20 41.820s
17 Xavier Simeon Avintia Ducati Ducati 20 43.978s
18 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 20 58.288s
19 Scott Redding Aprilia Aprilia 20 1m00.191s
- Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 16 Retirement
- Michele Pirro Ducati Ducati 5 Retirement
- Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati Ducati 3 Retirement
- Jordi Torres Avintia Ducati Ducati 0 Withdrawn
- Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Ducati 0 Withdrawn
- Andrea Iannone Suzuki Suzuki 0 Crash

Riders' standings

Pos Rider Points
1 Marc Marquez 321
2 Andrea Dovizioso 220
3 Valentino Rossi 195
4 Maverick Vinales 193
5 Alex Rins 149
6 Johann Zarco 149
7 Cal Crutchlow 148
8 Danilo Petrucci 144
9 Andrea Iannone 133
10 Jorge Lorenzo 130
11 Dani Pedrosa 106
12 Alvaro Bautista 105
13 Jack Miller 91
14 Franco Morbidelli 50
15 Aleix Espargaro 44
16 Hafizh Syahrin 40
17 Tito Rabat 35
18 Pol Espargaro 35
19 Bradley Smith 30
20 Takaaki Nakagami 23
21 Scott Redding 15
22 Karel Abraham 10
23 Mika Kallio 6
24 Stefan Bradl 3
25 Katsuyuki Nakasuga 2
26 Xavier Simeon 1
27 Michele Pirro 1
28 Thomas Luthi 0
29 Jordi Torres 0
30 Mike Jones 0
31 Sylvain Guintoli 0
32 Christophe Ponsson 0

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About this article

Series MotoGP
Drivers Valentino Rossi , Alex Marquez , Marc Marquez
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Jamie Klein
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