Dovizioso wins to force last-race showdown
Malaysian Grand Prix

Dovizioso wins to force last-race showdown

29/10/2017

Andrea Dovizioso led a Ducati 1-2 to claim his sixth win of the campaign at a wet Malaysian Grand Prix, ensuring that the title fight will go down to the Valencia finale in mid-November.

Dovizioso shadowed team-mate Jorge Lorenzo before a mistake from the Spaniard opened the door for Dovizioso to take the lead in tricky conditions at Sepang.

With Marc Marquez taking a low-key fourth, the title will be settled at the final round of the campaign, with the Repsol Honda rider's advantage standing at 21 points over Dovizioso.

Marquez, from seventh on the grid, launched into the lead into Turn 1, but drifted wide, taking Lorenzo with him, as Tech 3's Johann Zarco moved to the front of the pack.

Zarco opened a near two-second advantage over Lorenzo, while Marquez was overhauled by Dovizioso after a couple of laps, and faded away from the lead fight.

Lorenzo and Dovizioso closed in on leader Zarco and swept past mid-distance, though in the current order, the points outcome would not have been sufficient for Dovizioso to keep his title hopes alive.

Ducati issued Lorenzo with the message 'Mapping 8', but he remained up front for the next few laps, as Dovizioso loomed large in second position.

However, Lorenzo made a mistake through the Turn 15 hairpin – forcing him to sit up – and the time lost enabled Dovizioso to move ahead along the pit straight.

From there, Lorenzo did not threaten Dovizioso's position up front as the latter scored his sixth win of the season, with Lorenzo following home in second spot, for the first factory Ducati 1-2 of the year.

Zarco, having been overhauled by the Ducati duo, took a solid third spot to record another podium finish, while Marquez was a lonely fourth.

Pole sitter Dani Pedrosa soon drifted away from the front quartet and claimed fifth, while Pramac's Danilo Petrucci put in a starring recovery to record sixth position.

Petrucci abandoned his bike on the way to the grid, and had to start from the rear of the pack on his spare machine, as he carved his way through the lower order.

Movistar Yamaha pair Valentino Rossi and Maverick Vinales struggled during the early laps, tumbling down the order, before ultimately taking seventh and ninth, sandwiching Marc VDS' Jack Miller.

Pol Espargaro delivered another top 10 result for KTM, ahead of Alvaro Bautista, Bradley Smith and Scott Redding, the Britons having battled for sixth in the opening phase of the race.

Hector Barbera and Cal Crutchlow completed the points scorers in 14th and 15th respectively.

Tech 3 stand-in Michael van der Mark was a fine 16th on his premier class debut, as Suzuki started strongly before fading, with Andrea Iannone only 17th, while Alex Rins crashed out.

Tito Rabat was the final classified runner in 18th spot, with Sam Lowes (twice), Karel Abraham and Loris Baz all crashing out in the slippery conditions.

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29/04/2018
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