Enea Bastianini wins, Francesco Bagnaia extends title lead

Ducati’s Enea Bastianini won Sunday’s Malaysian MotoGP, with Francesco Bagnaia finishing third ahead of title rival Jorge Martin, extending his world championship lead with two races remaining.

Italy’s Bastianini returned to Sepang with a lead of more than 1.5 seconds over second-placed Alex Marquez, closely followed by Bagnaia in third and Martin in fourth.

Current world title holder Bagnaia (Italy) currently leads Spain’s Martin by 14 points heading into next weekend’s race in Qatar.

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“I tried to close the gap between Alex and Bastia, but I struggled quite a bit with the braking,” said Ducati factory rider Bagnaia.

“But I’m happy to be able to open up a little bit of a lead in the championship.

“I’m happy with the performance we showed,” the 26-year-old added.

Third place went to Italian rider Francesco Bagnaia of the Ducati Lenovo Team. Photo: MOHD RASFAN/AFPSource: AFP

Bagnaia started late from pole position and was quickly swallowed up by rival Martin, who started from second on the grid on his Ducati, and Bagnaia’s teammate Bastianini.

However, Pramac’s Martin quickly jumped out to the side and Italy’s Bastianini, who had started from third on the grid, moved into the lead.

Bastianini led Malaysian MotoGP sprint winner Marquez for a third of the 20 laps, with Martin and Bagnaia fighting for third place. Bagnaia won the contest to the cheers of the Sepang crowd.

The race became eventful from there, with Bastianini leading Gresini Racing’s Marquez by a wide margin in the heat, Bagnaia in third and Martin struggling for pace in fourth. It remained that way until the end.

Bastianini was plagued by injuries this season, but the Italian, affectionately known as “The Beast”, held his own until the very end to earn his first win of the season and ultimately returned home with a comfortable victory.

Enea Bastianini celebrates after the MotoGP Malaysian Grand Prix. Photo: MOHD RASFAN/AFPSource: AFP

“I’m tired, but I gave 100 percent today,” said the 25-year-old. “I haven’t been on the podium for a long time, but today is a victory.

“Only me and my friends, girlfriend and family know what I had to go through to get here.” Marco Bezzecchi enters Sepang third in the championship However, mathematically he is still in contention for the world title.

But his hopes of winning the title disappeared when he returned home in sixth place behind France’s former world champion Fabio Quartararo.

Alex’s older brother, six-time world champion Marc Marquez, started 20th on the grid for Honda but finished 13th.

A thrilling campaign will next take place in Qatar, ahead of the season finale in Valencia on November 26th.

Previously, MotoGP competitor Pedro Acosta was crowned Moto2 World Champion after finishing second behind compatriot Fermin Aldeguer at the Sepang race.



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