Andrea Dovizioso gave MotoGP a record ninth different winner of the season at Sepang, the Ducati star returning to the top step of the podium seven-years after his only previous premier-class win.

During that time, since his victory for Repsol Honda at Donington Park in 2009, the Italian has finished runner-up on 14 occasions - most recently at Motegi earlier this month.

Dovi finally broke the drought with a confident ride on the wet Malaysian track. Having proven his potential with pole in the rain on Saturday, he then settled into the middle of a five-rider lead group for 11 of the 19 laps.

Three of those riders - Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow and Dovizioso's team-mate Andrea Iannone - then fell in quick succession, leaving Dovizioso in a straight duel with Valentino Rossi.

But the Yamaha rider looked closer to the limit and eventually ran wide at turn one, allowing Dovizioso to sweep past. The extent of Dovizioso's speed advantage then became clear as he pounded out a 2m 11.9s, then 2m 12.0s lap time. Rossi was two-seconds a lap slower and settled for the runner-up spot.

Afterwards, Dovizioso insisted it wasn't as easy as it looked.

"The race was very, very difficult. From outside, my style looks like I was controlling the race, but that wasn't the reality," he revealed. "The first part of the race wasn't very fast because there was a lot of water, and Iannone and Valentino were very fast. But I didn't give up, I didn't make a mistake, and that gave me the possibility to win at the end.

"Valentino normally never gives up, so after his mistake, I didn't expect to make a gap to him. But when I saw 1.7 seconds I realise I have a chance. Also because I was able to keep a good speed at that time. If I was able to push, I could improve the lap time. For sure I have to take a lot of risk, but I was able to.

"I have a really good bike, because the traction on the rear was better than Valentino. That gave me the possibility to be a little bit faster overall in the lap.

"I'm so happy about my bike in this condition. We worked in the right way in the qualifying and the race was perfect. I'm really happy to get this victory in this way. I know it's in the wet, it's not in the dry, but today it looks like I cook the competitors, and is something I don't feel a lot in my career, and is really nice."

Dovizioso also admitted that the victory helped compensate for the bitter blow of losing out to Iannone in Austria, Ducati's frits win since 2010.

"In Austria, the feeling was, that victory was mine and I made a wrong decision with the rear tyre, so I was very very disappointed. Because I rode I think in a perfect way. So to get this result now, at the end of the season, is very important."

The 30-year-old is pleased he will no longer be asked if he can become the ninth different winner - and isn't ruling out a tenth different rider in the Valencia season finale.

"I'm happy you won't ask me this question any more! Could there be a tenth winner? This year, anything can happen. Aleix? Maybe. Also with Aleix anything can happen!"

Dovizioso will start the final round holding seventh in the world championship, but is now just four points behind LCR Honda's Cal Crutchlow.

By Peter McLaren


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Oh lord, wins one race thinks he is a serious threat to win the championship next year. Pirro is still testing with a bike that has wings on it, 20 lap wheelies next year because they forgot the wing ban. At least they won't have front end issues.