Dovizioso takes MotoGP victory in Malaysia, becomes ninth winner of 2016

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Andrea Dovizioso picked up his second MotoGP victory in Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix to become the ninth different winner of the 2016 season, setting a new record for the premier class of motorcycle racing.

Dovizioso scored the fifth pole position of his MotoGP career on Saturday at the Sepang International Circuit, but dropped back to third on the first lap as Valentino Rossi hit the front of the pack for Yamaha on a drenched track.

Rossi was joined at the sharp end of the field by Dovizioso’s Ducati teammate, Andrea Iannone, who took the lead on lap two as he went in pursuit of his second win of the year.

Dovizioso was left with world champion Marc Marquez and Australian Grand Prix winner Cal Crutchlow for company, only for both to fall by the wayside. Crutchlow slid out of the race at Turn 2 to relieve some of the pressure on Dovizioso, before Marquez fell at Turn 11. The Spaniard was able to get back up, but his win hopes were over.

By this point, Dovizioso had reeled in the leading duo of Iannone and Rossi, who swapped positions with eight laps remaining. Iannone’s win hopes were ended one lap later when he also crashed out, handing second place to Dovizioso.

Putting the straight-line speed advantage of the Ducati Desmosedici GP16 bike to good use, Dovizioso was able to close right up on Rossi before capitalizing on an error made by the nine-time world champion. Rossi ran wide at Turn 1, allowing Dovizioso to move into a lead he would not relinquish.

Some seven years after his first win in MotoGP at the 2009 British Grand Prix, Dovizioso crossed the line to claim victory in Malaysia with an advantage of three seconds at the checkered flag over Rossi.

In doing so, the Italian rider became the ninth different rider to win a race in 2016, marking a new record for MotoGP.

Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the podium on the second factory Yamaha bike, having hit the front on lap one before making an error. Hector Barbera and Loris Baz made the most of the conditions to finish fourth and fifth respectively, while Maverick Vinales ended the race sixth.

Alvaro Bautista finished seventh for Aprilia ahead of Jack Miller and Pol Espargaro, while Ducati satellite rider Danilo Petrucci rounded out the top 10. Marquez ultimately finished 11th after a rough weekend blighted by illness.

The final round of the 2016 MotoGP season takes place in Valencia, Spain on November 13.