After the six position grid penalty that made him start the Malaysian GP in seventh, Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) had a difficult task to win the Malaysian race at Sepang International Circuit, but the newly crowned champion didn’t give up on getting his ninth race win of the season, 70th in MotoGP and secure the manufacturers title for Honda, a dream season for the team.
And it all looked even worse for Marquez when Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) had a blistering start of the race and left everyone more than a second away right from the start. The veteran Italian had the race under control, and no one had the pace to get close to him.
But Marc Marquez had a different idea, and slowly started to make up the ground to the race leader. The Honda rider passed by Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Factory), Alex Rins (Ecstar Suzuki) and also Johann Zarco (Monster Tech3 Yamaha) – who started from pole -, and with four laps to go he got closer to Rossi than anyone before.
Valentino Rossi saw the board warning that Marquez was right behind him, and eager to maintain the difference to his Spanish rival, Rossi made a mistake a Turn 1 of the Sepang circuit. Entering the corner a bit too fast, Rossi had to adjust the speed mid corner, and lost the front of his Yamaha M1, suffering a low-side. Rossi reentered the race, but only to finish in 18th, out of points.
With Rossi crashing in front of him, Marc Marquez inherited the lead with a four second advantage over his pursuers, and from then on, the champion only had to make sure he didn’t crash to secure another win this MotoGP season.
Behind Marquez, Alex Rins overcame the always ferocious French Johann Zarco, on a perfectly timed maneuver, giving Suzuki another podium finish in what’s a great end of season for the Japanese manufacturer.
As for Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Tech3 Yamaha), racing in a track he knows so well and getting the support from his home fans, the Malaysian rider had another great race.
Syahrin made up no less than 11 positions in the first corners of the race, and from then on he battled his way up to 10th to cross the finish line with another superb Top 10 finish. With this result, the Tech3 rider made up some points on Franco Morbidelli (MarcVDS Honda), while both riders fight for the title of Rookie of the Year right to the last race of the season in Valencia. Syahrin is still 10 points away from his goal, but everything can happen at the last race of the season, and Syahrin might be crowned the best rookie in MotoGP
“It’s just unbelievable! First of all, I want to say thank you very much to my team, because they always believe in me and give me great motivation. Yesterday has been a disaster for us, but we made up for it. In the starting grid, I saw my father and was just emotional and had to hug him. I want to thank everybody that came here. To arrive in the top 10 for my home GP was my target, but to be honest, I didn’t believe it was possible. But in the end, we did it, which is incredible. I want to thank everybody; I love my family and my fans. I’m so happy!”.
The last race of the season will be in just a weeks’ time in Valencia.