Marc Marquez equalled Aussie legend Mick Doohan's record of 12 premier class victories in a season as the Repsol Honda rider returned to the top step in the Malaysian MotoGP.

World champion Marquez, celebrating his first win since the British round of the championship at Silverstone, has now given himself the opportunity to break Doohan's 1997 record at the final round at Valencia.

Marquez hit the front on lap 11 following an error from Valentino Rossi on the brakes at the last corner and grew stronger on the final laps to break Rossi's resolve.

The Movistar Yamaha rider strengthened his chances of taking the runner-up spot in the championship as he held second place, while team-mate Jorge Lorenzo completed the rostrum places in third.

Repsol Honda's Dani Pedrosa saw his hopes of a runner-up finish in the 2015 points standings thwarted after sliding out of the race on lap two while holding second place. Pedrosa managed to remount and clawed his way back to 11th place, only to crash out again on a miserable afternoon for the Honda star.

Britain's Bradley Smith came home in fifth on the Monster Energy Tech 3 Yamaha behind LCR Honda's Stefan Bradl, with Pol Espargaro completing the top six.

Pedrosa finally made a flying start to lead on lap one as pole sitter Marquez dropped as low as eighth place after Lorenzo forced him wide at the first corner.

The Yamaha rider then surged past Andrea Dovizioso before picking off Pedrosa to hit the front as Marquez regrouped.

Forward Yamaha's Aleix Espargaro and Alvaro Bautista on the Gresini Honda went down on lap two after a coming together.

With Lorenzo attempting to make a break at the front from Pedrosa, Rossi moved into third from Dovizioso while Marquez was also on the move, passing Bradl for fifth.

Disaster struck for Pedrosa at the final hairpin, as he lost the front of the Honda and slid out of the race, ruining his chances of finishing second in the championship.

Lorenzo and Rossi were spearheading a Yamaha one-two at the front as Marquez wound up the wick in his efforts to catch the leading pair, passing Dovizioso on lap three to go third.

British star Cal Crutchlow developed a problem with the Ducati on lap four while lying in sixth place as his bad luck at the flyaway rounds continued.

Bradl was holding fifth spot ahead of Smith and the impressive Yonny Hernandez on the Pramac Ducati, with Pol Espargaro and Aspar Honda pair Hiroshi Aoyama and Nicky Hayden next, who later crashed out of a top ten place at the hairpin.

On lap six, Marquez made headway into Lorenzo's lead with just over half a second covering the top three, but the Spaniard began to dig deeper and managed to open a slight advantage on the next lap only to see his lead evaporate after an apparent mistake off-camera.

The trio were covered by 0.463s at the start of lap nine but Lorenzo - who was running the harder front tyre - appeared vulnerable and Rossi became the new leader on lap ten, passing his team-mate at Turn 9 to send the crowd wild.

Lorenzo then gifted Marquez second place at the final turn and was soon losing ground on the leaders as he dropped back in third, appearing to have trouble holding his line on the M1.

On the following lap, the lead changed again as Rossi went in too hot on the brakes at the last turn and Marquez didn't need a second invitation.

Rossi wasn't allowing Marquez to get away although Lorenzo's tyre gamble now looked to have backfired as he slipped to 1.7 seconds behind the leaders after briefly threatening to force his way back into contention.

Pol Espargaro, involved in a huge off in practice that left him with a broken bone in his left foot, was almost rammed by Hernandez with five laps remaining at the final turn, but had a lucky escape as he held on to seventh.

Dovizioso lost fourth place after appearing to develop an issue with the Ducati, enabling Bradl and Smith to pick up places with the injured Espargaro also passing the Italian to slot into the top six.

Marquez finally began to break Rossi's resolve on the final three laps, edging away in the lead to establish a gap of almost one second on lap 18.

Rossi's pace had slowed dramatically and he was in danger of dropping back into the clutches of Lorenzo, but the Australian MotoGP winner had enough in hand to guarantee second place behind Marquez, who crossed the line 2.445s clear.

Bradl held on for fourth after coming under pressure from Smith, with Espargaro finishing a battling sixth.

Hernandez took seventh from Dovizioso as Avintia's Hector Barbera and Scott Redding on the Gresini Honda completed the top ten.

Northern Ireland's Michael Laverty again finished in the points on the PBM machine in 12th position behind Aoyama.

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