SEPANG (AFP) – Recently crowned world champion Marc Marquez broke another record by romping to his 12th win of the season in an eventful Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Spanish Honda rider was followed by Yamaha teammates Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo.
Marquez, who completed the Sepang circuit in 40minutes 45.523 seconds, now equals Australian Mick Doohan’s record of 12 wins in a season.
Crowd favourite Rossi, who briefly held the lead after overtaking Lorenzo, finished 2.445 seconds behind Marquez to settle in second place.
Lorenzo, who started from third and blitzed off the blocks from in rapid-fire fashion, couldn’t maintain the momentum, finishing third, 3.508 seconds off his compatriot, who had started from pole.
Marquez’ teammate, Dani Pedrosa, who won the Malaysian Grand Prix in the last two years, fell behind early on after crashing out while trying to challenge Lorenzo.
The Spaniard, who had started in second place, came off his machine again in the later stages and could not complete the race.
The top trio was followed — after a sizable gap of more than 21 seconds to the race leader — by Germany’s Stefan Bradl on a Honda and Briton Bradley Smith on a Yamaha Tech 3.
Spanish Yamaha Tech 3 rider Pol Espargaro came in sixth despite breaking a bone in his left foot in a fall during practice Saturday.
Italian legend Rossi, who has won seven premier class world titles, now has 275 points in the standings, just 12 points ahead of two-time champion Lorenzo.
That means the fight for runner-up will continue into the next – and last – race in Valencia, where Marquez will look to top the 12-wins-per-season record.
The 21-year-old, who crashed out of the Australian Grand Prix last weekend, already clinched the championship two races ago in Japan.
Last year Marquez became the youngest MotoGP champion.