Dominant Vinales claims Malaysian GP win

Maverick Vinales

Maverick Vinales produced a faultless ride to clinch victory from Marc Marquez in the MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

The factory Yamaha rider dominated the penultimate round of the season once he found his way into the lead at the end the opening lap.

Vinales proved untouchable as he went on to take his first win since a triumph at Assen in June.

“What an incredible race,” said Vinales.

“We prepared for the race really good. I thought I had a good potential and I took the lead in the first two splits and then I kept pushing and pushing.

“What a shame what happened in Australia as I had big potential there too.

“I would like to dedicate this race to the kid (Afridza Munandar) who died yesterday, he was my favourite in the Asia Talent Cup, my condolences to his family.”

Newly crowned MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez once again showcased his talent, recovering from 11th on the grid to second.

The Repsol Honda rider provided the most serious challenge to Vinales having moved into second on Lap 3. The result saw the Spaniard set a new MotoGP record for most points scored in a season with 395 points to his name.

Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso, who started 10th, fought off Valentino Rossi (Yamaha) to claim the final podium spot.

Australia’s Jack Miller (Pramac Ducati) led the opening lap and was in podium contention early on, before struggling for pace on soft tyres, that saw him drop to eighth at the finish.

It proved to be frantic start as Miller got the holeshot and stormed into the lead as the field headed into Turn 1. 

Vinales slotted into second but it was fourth row starters Dovizioso and Marquez, who stunned the field to scythe their way through to occupy third and fifth respectively.

The Yamaha rider managed to find a way by Miller to lead at the end of the opening lap as Marquez managed to pass Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT), Dovizioso and then Miller to take an impressive second spot.

Miller fought back but it was Marquez who eventually cemented second on Lap 3, before setting his sights on leader Vinales, who had broken away to a 1.5s lead.

It proved to be a disastrous start for pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT), who dropped to eighth by the end of the opening lap.

At the front Miller, on the soft tyres, began to struggle losing out to Dovizioso at Turn 4 on lap 4.

The Australian then fell into the clutches of Rossi who made light work of the Ducati rider.

Miller was then caught up in a battle with Suzuki Ecstar rider Alex Rins which resulted in contact at the final corner. 

Rins lost a piece from his fairing but it didn’t stop him from going on to take the spot. 

Miller’s struggles continued and he would drop to eighth by the halfway mark.

Meanwhile, at the front Vinales continued to control the race ahead of Marquez, with all eyes on the battle for third between Dovizioso, Rossi and Rins.

However, nobody could touch Vinales, who took the win from Marquez.

Dovizioso briefly lost third spot to Rossi but recovered to claim the final rostrum from the fan favourite.

Rins came home in fifth ahead of Petronas Yamaha SRT riders Morbidelli and Quartararo, with Miller in eighth.

Miller benefitted from Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) being issued a long lap penalty for taking out Johann Zarco (LCR Honda) with three laps remaining.

Danilo Petrucci (Ducati) crossed the line in ninth as Mir rounded out the top 10.   

A rough day for Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda), who started fifth, resulted in a crash at the final corner with six laps remaining. 

The Brit joined Zarco (LCR Honda) and Andrea Iannone (Gresini Aprilia) on the list of retirements.   

Meanwhile, in the afternoon’s Moto2 race, Alex Marquez wrapped up the world title after finishing second behind Brad Binder, while Thomas Luthi was third.

Australia’s Remy Gardner came home in 14th after suffering contact from Sam Lowes.

The MotoGP World Championship will head to Spain’s Valencia circuit for the final round from November 15-17.  

Results: MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix

Position Rider Team Bike Laps Gap
1 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 20 40m14.632s
2 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 20 3.059s
3 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 20 5.611s
4 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 20 5.965s
5 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 20 6.350s
6 Franco Morbidelli Petronas Yamaha Yamaha 20 9.993s
7 Fabio Quartararo Petronas Yamaha Yamaha 20 12.864s
8 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 20 17.252s
9 Danilo Petrucci Ducati Ducati 20 19.773s
10 Joan Mir Suzuki Suzuki 20 22.854s
11 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 20 24.821s
12 Francesco Bagnaia Pramac Ducati Ducati 20 30.251s
13 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 20 30.447s
14 Jorge Lorenzo Honda Honda 20 34.215s
15 Mika Kallio KTM KTM 20 34.461s
16 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 KTM KTM 20 44.319s
17 Karel Abraham Avintia Ducati Ducati 20 47.343s
DNF Johann Zarco LCR Honda Honda 16 Retirement
DNF Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 14 Retirement
DNF Andrea Iannone Aprilia Aprilia 11 Retirement
DNS Miguel Oliveira Tech3 KTM KTM 0 Withdrawn

Championship Standings

Position Rider Points
1 Marc Marquez 395
2 Andrea Dovizioso 256
3 Maverick Vinales 201
4 Alex Rins 194
5 Danilo Petrucci 176
6 Fabio Quartararo 172
7 Valentino Rossi 166
8 Jack Miller 149
9 Cal Crutchlow 133
10 Franco Morbidelli 115
11 Pol Espargaro 94
12 Joan Mir 83
13 Takaaki Nakagami 74
14 Aleix Espargaro 56
15 Francesco Bagnaia 54
16 Andrea Iannone 43
17 Miguel Oliveira 33
18 Johann Zarco 30
19 Jorge Lorenzo 25
20 Tito Rabat 18
21 Stefan Bradl 16
22 Michele Pirro 9
23 Hafizh Syahrin 8
24 Sylvain Guintoli 7
25 Karel Abraham 7
26 Mika Kallio 3
27 Bradley Smith 0

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