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Dovizioso wins in Malaysia to extend title fight

  • News Desk

    AFP

Sepang, Malaysia | Sun, October 29, 2017 | 05:07 pm
Dovizioso wins in Malaysia to extend title fight Ducati Team's Italian rider Andrea Dovizioso (C) celebrates his victory with third-placed Monster Yamaha Tech 3 French rider Johann Zarco (L) on the podium after winning the Malaysia MotoGP at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang on October 29, 2017. (AFP/Manan VATSYAYANA)

Ducati's Andrea Dovizioso won a dramatic and damp Malaysian MotoGP grand prix on Sunday to keep his world title hopes afloat after championship leader Marc Marquez finished fourth.

"Yes, I am happy to keep my championship challenge alive," he said at the trackside.

The Italian adopted a cool strategy and worked hard to stay in the front pack as a downpour just before the start left standing water on much of the Sepang circuit.

Dovizioso, who now has six wins this season, quickly defused speculation that teammate Jorge Lorenzo had been under orders to let him through at turn 15 when the Spaniard was in the lead.

"He lost the front. I (also) lost the front many times," the Italian said.

Dovizioso who started on the front row, crossed the line in 44 minutes 51.497 seconds. Lorenzo was 0.743 seconds slower while Frenchman Johann Zarco was third at 45:01.236.

Dovizioso, 31, won at Sepang last year in similar wet conditions

Lorenzo said he pushed hard for victory but lost his grip in lap 15 when he tried to break.

Asked if there had been any team instructions to let Dovizioso win, he told reporters:

"Honestly, I did not see anything. In the rain you cannot lose any concentration.

"I wanted to win the race but was not prepared to do something crazy. I lost grip in the front in turn 15. I thought I was going to crash. I did not want to crash into Dovizioso."

Zarco, who rode a brilliant race, set an electric pace to lead most of the way. He said he enjoyed riding fast at Sepang and was glad to secure a podium finish.

"It is okay Lorenzo and Dovizioso overtook me. They are much better riders," Zarco said.

"I am happy with a third position. We had a good day. I am highly motivated for the season-ending race in Valencia."

Spain's Marquez, who started from the third row on a Honda and was under intense pressure to wrap up the championship battle in Malaysia, quickly moved up to third in a fast-riding pack led by Zarco but could not maintain his pace on the wet track. 

The riders will meet in Valencia on November 12 for the final showdown, with Marquez leading Dovizioso by 21 points.  

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