Francesco Bagnaia resisted pressure from Enea Bastianini to win Malaysian GP with chance to take the MotoGP title away from Fabio Quartararo in Valencia.
It was cloudy weather to start the MotoGP race in Malaysian GP as pole-sitter Jorge Martin led the way comfortably on his Pramac Ducati. But title contender Francesco Bagnaia shot into second taking the inside line on his Ducati from ninth on the grid.
Gresini Ducati’s Enea Bastianini was third from Honda’s Marc Marquez, with Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo moving up to fifth from 12th on the grid. His teammate Franco Morbidelli was seventh in a Suzuki sandwich with Joan Mir ahead and Alex Rins behind.
Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro was ninth with KTM’s Brad Binder rounding the Top 10, with VR46 Ducati’s Marco Bezzecchi in 11th, RNF Yamaha’s Darryn Binder 12th, KTM’s Miguel Oliveira 13th, RNF’s Ca Crutchlow 14th and Honda’s Pol Espargaro 15th.
Up front, Martin started to check out as Bagnaia came under pressure from Bastianini, while Quartararo started to hustle Marquez with Mir and Rins on his tail after Morbidelli went on to take his Long Gap Penalty, which set him behind.
VR46’s Luca Marini was forced to retire after his start device couldn’t disengage after the race start, as Espargaro’s chances to stay in the hunt started to slimmer when he dropped down the order with no pace to show like teammate Maverick Vinales.
LCR Honda’s Tetsuta Nagashima also crashed out from last, but the big moment came when Martin crashed out from the MotoGP race lead at Sepang circuit. It handed Bagnaia the grand prix lead as he had Bastianini on his tail still.
Quartararo was third as a result having passed Marquez, who also lost to Bezzecchi. The Italian also passed both the Suzuki riders before his move on the Honda rider to be fourth. Mir was fifth after passing Marquez, with Rins slotting in seventh.
Binder was eighth with teammate Oliveira also climbing up well in ninth from another gainer Jack Miller in 10th on his Ducati. Up front, Bastianini started to hurry on Bagnaia and eventually made the move on the cautious Italian to lead Malaysian GP.
Bagnaia stayed on his tail though, while Quartararo had Bezzecchi just behind. Behind them, Marquez had quite the back and forth fight with the Suzuki riders where Rins head Marquez and Mir, while Binder, Miller and Pramac’s Johann Zarco rounded Top 10.
The fight at the front started to get tensed as Bagnaia started to come back on Bastianini and eventually he passed him to retake MotoGP race lead. Quartararo steadied in third from Bezzecchi with the Frenchman keeping him at bay well.
Despite the last lap tactics, Bagnaia held on to win the Malaysian GP race with a big chance to win the MotoGP title in Valencia, as Bastianini and Quartararo completed the podium. Bezzecchi was fourth from Rins as Miller climbed up the order to be sixth.
The Australian’s result helped them clinch the teams’ title having already won the constructors’ title. Marquez was seventh from Binder, Zarco and Morbidelli in the Top 10 where the Italian is under investigation for his last lap barging move against Espargaro.
Crtuchlow was 12th from Oliveira with Espargaro 14th and Tech 3 KTM’s Raul Fernandez in the points places in 15th. Vinales was 16th from LCR’s Alex Marquez, Tech 3’s Remy Gardner and Mir, who had a late crash but managed to continue on.
DNF: Binder, Fabio di Giannantonio, Martin, Nagashima, Marini
Annnnddd relax… 😅
A crazy race in Sepang! 🙌#MalaysianGP 🇲🇾 pic.twitter.com/6nfvUCMsEh
— MotoGP™🏁 (@MotoGP) October 23, 2022