Ducati’s Enea Bastianini claimed his first race victory of the MotoGP season as he won the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of Alex Marquez on Sunday.
The Italian, 25, became the seventh rider to win a race this season as Jorge Martin failed to close the gap on championship leader Francesco Bagnaia.
Martin finished a distant fourth with Ducati’s Bagnaia, who secured his first MotoGP title last season, in third.
The 26-year-old Italian leads Martin by 14 points with two races left.
Bagnaia earned pole position in Sepang while Pramac Racing’s Spanish rider Martin, 25, was second fastest in qualifying.
But Bastianini and Saturday’s sprint winner Marquez were both quick off the line and left the two title contenders behind on the opening lap, with Bagnaia looking content to stay clear of Martin in third place.
Bastianini broke his shoulder in the season-opening sprint in Portugal and missed more races after having surgery in September to mend broken bones in his left hand and left ankle.
“I’m so tired, but after a long time without a podium, I’ve got this victory,” he said. “My family and friends know what I’ve had to do to arrive here, it’s fantastic.”