Dani Pedrosa won Sunday's Malaysian MotoGP, but the on-track action centred around a thrilling duel for second between title rivals Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.

The battle had added impetus given the penalty point handed to Marquez, for light contact with team-mate Pedrosa - which broke a traction control sensor, causing Pedrosa to fall - at the previous Aragon round.

Lorenzo has been one of the loudest in calling for riding standards to be tightened, especially since clashing with Marquez at the final turn of round three at Jerez. On Thursday the reigning double world champion taunted the decision to hand what was effectively a final warning to the rookie star:

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"Jerez was a great show, looking at the marshals [scattering] like chickens in Silverstone was a great show. In Laguna Seca he overtook Valentino outside of the track, it was a great show. So they should provide an incentive for these types of actions."

But in the Sepang battle it was Lorenzo who made contact with Marquez - tapping the side of the 20-year-old after launching an inside re-pass at Turn 11, during a relentless back-and-forth exchange from laps 5-9.

"It was a great battle," said Lorenzo. "I tried my best. I could only try to force him to make some mistakes, so I tried at every occasion. Every space. I would like to fight with some better braking, because we struggle so much and it is impossible to pass these guys [Hondas] on braking. We can only pass them on the change of direction or if they make a mistake.

"Anyway it was fun, until the last overtake from Marc. Until then the fight was really clean, with no touching. In that [last overtake] there was no touching, but he didn't leave me as much space, so I had to close the throttle."

The words 'no touching' came as a surprise, given the TV images, and saw Lorenzo asked specifically if he had made any contact with Marquez: "I don't know. We passed I think three, four, five times and I don't think we touched. But if we did it was just a little bit. I didn't feel a big touch."

Marquez smiled as he listened to those comments, then gave his opinion: "In one overtake I felt some contact [from Lorenzo]. But it was ok. Like this is racing, no? He overtook me on the inside. I didn't expect it. We had some contact, but you know in that moment it was so exciting."

It wasn't only Marquez who 'defended' the contact from Lorenzo - Marquez's manager and former grand prix racer Emilio Alzamora stating: "This is the races".

The contest finally ended when Marquez claimed the runner-up position from Lorenzo with an inside move of his own, through the rising right-hand turn leading onto the back straight. Lorenzo tried to brave it out around the outside, but was forced to back off when Marquez drifted out to the kerb on the exit. It was only that pass that Lorenzo felt was borderline.

"It was different [to the pass where they did touch] because then he left me room and I thought I have to try [on the inside]. But at Turn 14 he didn't leave me space and if I didn't close the throttle we could have touched. The other passes were clean."

Marquez's only compliant was that the battle with Lorenzo may have cost him the chance to catch Pedrosa.

"It was a nice battle with Jorge. I enjoyed it a lot, but at the same time Dani opened some gap," he said. "Then when finally I overtook Jorge I tried to reduce the gap, but it was too much risk.

"The target this weekend was to finish in front of Jorge, so we did well. We increased the championship lead by four points, that is most important."

Marquez has now extended his title lead to 43 points over Lorenzo and has the first of three chances to claim the crown next weekend at Phillip Island, Australia.

"We need to keep the same mentality because it is working so well," stated Marquez.