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Andrea Dovizioso repeated his 2016 victory in the wet at Sepang to ensure the MotoGP World Championship title race will go down to the wire at the final round in Spain.

Dovizioso headed a Ducati one-two from team-mate Jorge Lorenzo as the Italian rider claimed his sixth victory of the season in Malaysia.

Title leader Marc Marquez finished off the podium in fourth on the Repsol Honda behind Johann Zarco (Monster Tech 3 Yamaha), meaning the defending champion will have to wait a little longer for the opportunity to secure his fourth premier class crown at Valencia in two weeks’ time.

Marquez will head to Spain with a 21-point lead over Dovizioso, who kept his hopes alive with the best result possible at Sepang on the Desmosedici GP17.

Frenchman Zarco, who has been confirmed as the top Independent rider of 2017 in his rookie season in the class, charged into the lead on the first lap and began to open a gap on the satellite M1.

Marquez made a flying start from row three on the Honda and briefly took the lead before drifting wide at turn 1. He regrouped and dived under team-mate and pole man Dani Pedrosa at turn 2 to go second behind Zarco.

However, Marquez was quickly demoted to third by Lorenzo, who also made a lightning-quick getaway from sixth place on row two.

Dovizioso settled into fourth behind Marquez, with pole man Pedrosa next ahead of Bradley Smith on the Red Bull KTM.

After shadowing championship favourite Marquez on the opening laps, Dovizioso made his move at the penultimate corner at the end of lap four. However, he ran wide on the brakes into the final turn and almost collided with Marquez, who retook third place on his inside as they exited the corner.

Dovizioso, though, wasted no time as he made another clean pass on the brakes at the beginning of the fifth lap and this time he made it stick.

There was a change at the front on lap nine when Lorenzo moved into the lead after a clinical pass on Zarco at turn 9. Dovizioso then seized his chance to go second as he went underneath Zarco at turn 14 on the same lap.

The two Ducati riders began to pull away from Zarco, with Marquez dropping off the pace in a safe fourth, some ten seconds ahead of Pedrosa.

As Lorenzo continued to lead, the big question now was whether or not the Spaniard would move over and allow his team-mate into the lead, with Dovizioso needing to win in order to prevent Marquez clinching the title.

Yet before that question could be answered, Lorenzo had a big moment at turn 15 when he almost came off, enabling Dovizioso to go through into the lead as they accelerated onto the straight.

From there, it was textbook stuff as Dovizioso managed his pace and opened a slight cushion on the final laps, with Lorenzo settling for the runner-up spot.

There was no late drama as Dovizioso held on to secure his sixth victory of the season by 0.7s from Lorenzo, with Zarco almost ten seconds back in third.

Marquez coasted home in fourth place, 17.7s behind Dovizioso, with Pedrosa crossing the line in fifth, a further 12 seconds in arrears.

Danilo Petrucci (Pramac Ducati) held off Valentino Rossi on the Movistar Yamaha for seventh, with Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda), Pol Espargaro on the Red Bull KTM and Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) the top ten.

Alvaro Bautista (Aspar Ducati) finished 11th in front of British riders Smith and Scott Redding (Pramac Ducati), with Hector Barbera (Avintia Ducati) and Cal Crutchlow on the LCR Honda picking up the final points in 14th and 15th respectively.

Michael van der Mark was 16th on the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha as he filled in for Jonas Folger.

 

 

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