Andrea Iannone feels a podium challenge was possible at the Malaysian MotoGP but his charge was derailed avoiding Marc Marquez’s slide on the opening lap which sent him down.

On the opening lap the Suzuki rider saw Marquez dive up the inside of him going into the final corner hairpin but his race was wrecked when he slid off while reacting to the Repsol Honda rider’s near-miss when he briefly lost grip from his tyres.

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With Iannone sent tumbling, having seen a qualifying lap wrecked by the same rider which landed Marquez with a six-place grid penalty for the incident, he lamented his misfortune trying to avoid the 2018 MotoGP world champion.

“Marc lost the front and then the rear,” Iannone said. “I didn’t want to touch him so I braked and I crashed.

“If I didn’t brake maybe I would have touched him and we would have both crashed. It was an instinctive reaction and it was like this. I didn’t have another chance.”

After seeing Suzuki team-mate Alex Rins storm on to the podium as the race unfolded in Sepang, the Italian rider was confident of following up his second place from Phillip Island but was content with the pace progression he produced in Malaysian ahead of his final race for Suzuki at the 2018 finale in Valencia.

“It was a bit disappointing because we had a good possibility to take another podium,” he said. “I don’t want to talk about the situation but I think everything is really clear.

“I want the positive things and look at the positives which was that we had really good speed, we changed little things on the settings with the bike so the bike reacted really well so the feeling was good and the speed was good.

“My target today was the podium and we had the possibility. The team did really good work and that’s the positive thing so I want to remain concentrating on that situation and I want to arrive in Valencia with good motivation because it is a really good period for us and I want to end in this way.”

Iannone’s crash caps a mixed run for the Italian in the flyaway races which began with an underwhelming 11th place in Thailand before a crash in Japan and his runner-up result in Australia.

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