Italian steals show in Sepang

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Ducati Team’s Andrea Dovizioso clinched his second win in seven years in the Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sepang International Circuit on Sunday.

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But that did not deny Marc Marquez of Spain the 2016 MotoGp championship as he entered the race at Sepang with an insurmountable lead.

Dovizioso of Italy last brought home the gold during the British Grand Prix at the Domington Park Circuit on July 26, 2009 when he was still with Repsol Honda Team.

After the first lap, crowd favorite Italian Valentino Rossi of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP took the early lead with fellow Italian Andrea Iannone, Dovizioso, Spaniards Marquez and Aleix Espargaro trailing behind.

Ahead by 0.045 second, Iannone of Ducati Team snatched the lead from Rossi in the second lap. Marquez from Repsol Honda Team also advanced to fourth place, leaving Espargaro of Team Suzuki Ecstar behind.motogp20161101

Reigning champion Marquez and British Cal Crutchlow exchanged places in the following six laps. Marquez then sat at fourth place, while Crutchlow was at fifth in the ninth lap.

Rossi again reclaimed the top spot in the 11th lap and was ahead by 0.149 of a second from Iannone. Michelin Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix champion Crutchlow lost control on his bike on the wet road, denying himself a back-to-back win. Marquez also landed in the sands but eventually rejoined the race.

Taking advantage of the crashes that Crutch and Marquez figured in, Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo of Movistar Yamaha MotoGP rose to the occasion and took the fourth place in the 12th lap from sixth in the previous lap.

Iannone sat at third place in the 12th lap but slid to the sidelines, denying him a victory.

Rossi and Dovizioso remained at the top two spots, while Lorenzo, French Loris Baz, and Spaniard Hector Barbera advanced to third, fourth and fifth places, respectively, in the 13th lap.

The 30-year-old Dovizioso snatched the lead from Rossi in the 15th lap. From that moment, Dovizioso dominated the last four laps and closed the race in 42 minutes and 27.333 seconds.

“From outside, it looks like I was controlling the race but that wasn’t the reality. At the start of the race there was a lot of water and the pace was very fast, but I didn’t make a mistake and I’m very happy about that because it allowed me to fight for the win later on. It was very important to get this result, and here in Malaysia at a great track although I’d never won here,” said Dovizioso said in a statement released by the Ducati Team.

Rossi finishes second
Rossi took second place with 42 minutes and 30.448 seconds, while team-mate Lorenzo settled at third with 42 minutes and 39.257 seconds. Barbera and Baz finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

Dovizioso is the ninth winner after 17 races of the current season.

Despite finishing at 11th place and experiencing two crashes in a row, Marquez secured his fourth world championship, garnering 278 points and holding a 42-point cushion against second placer Rossi’s 236 points.

Lorenzo and Spaniard Maverick Viñales of Team Suzuki Ecstar ended in third and fourth place with 208 and 191 points, respectively. With the victory, Dovizioso climbed to fifth spot coming from seventh place with 162 points.

In the Moto2 category, French Johann Zarco of Ajo Motorsport dominated and finished 19 laps in 45 minutes and 51.036 seconds. Italian Franco Morbidelli of Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS placed second, followed by German Jonas Folger of Dynavolt Intact GP.

Zarco leads the world championship tally with 251 points, while Swiss Thomas Luthi of Garage Plus Interwetten now has 214 points. Spaniard Alex Rins of Pagina Amarillas HP 40 landed at third place with 203 points.

Italian Francesco Bagnaia of Pull & Bear Aspar Mahindra Team closed the 13 laps in 29 minutes and 29.531 seconds in the Moto3 division. Czech Jakob Kornfeil of Drive M7 SIC Racing Team finished second, followed by Dutch Bo Bendsneyder of Red Bull KTM Ajo.

In the championship scoreboard, South African Brad Binder of Red Bull KTM Ajo grabbed the advantage with 294 points. At distant second place was Italian Enea Bastianini of Gresini Racing Moto3 with 164 points. With his victory, Bagnaia climbed to third place from seventh place with 145 points.

The last edition of the MotoGp season will take place at the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valencia in Spain on November 13.

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