2008 MotoGP world champion Valentino Rossi rode a perfect race in exhausting conditions at Sepang on Sunday to take his ninth win of the season and his 150th grand prix podium.
The Italian is only the second rider in the history of the sport to reach that milestone, the other being Giacomo Agostini, whose all-time premier-class win record Rossi has already broken this season.
With temperatures in excess of 40 degrees, Sunday's penultimate round of the 2008 world championship race was clearly going to be a test of endurance, both for riders and tyres.
Rossi, starting from second, crossed the line for the first time in third position but was soon able to pass Andrea Dovizioso, then set the fastest lap of the race as he hunted down Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa.
The leading pair gradually began to open out clear air from the chasing pack, but the gap between them remained at just a few tenths for the next eight laps.
Rossi eventually made his move at mid-distance, passing Pedrosa on the brakes into the hairpin at turn nine and was then unchallenged to the chequered flag, crossing the line 4.008sec ahead of the Spaniard with Dovizioso in third.
"I am so happy with this win today because all of the toughest championship of my career, including with Yamaha in 2004, have been won with nine victories," said Rossi, who also took nine wins in 2003. "Of course that doesn't mean I don't want to win again next week, but for now I like this number!
"Today was incredibly hard because it was so hot. Once I got behind Dani I tried to pass many times but he was very fast and very consistent and I had a good battle to get by him.
"Lap-by-lap I understood better where it was possible and eventually I could make my move and go away from him. Everything worked very well today in such conditions, my M1 and my Bridgestone tyres and I want to thank everyone for making me so fast all weekend.