Francesco Bagnaia won the Malaysian MotoGP and was on the threshold of the World Championships
Francesco Bagnaia won Sunday's dramatic Malaysian Grand Prix, but the champagne of Italy's first MotoGP world championship is still dangling after rival Fabio Quartararo finished third.
Bagnaia would have won the title if Quartararo had finished on the podium in Sepang, but the Ducati rider has now increased his lead to 23 points in two weeks before the season finale in Valencia, Spain.
Bagnaia took the checkered flag 0.270 seconds ahead of fellow Ducati rider Enea Bastianini at 40:14:332. Quartaro completed the podium in 2.7 seconds.
Bagnaia started ninth on the grid but got off to a great start at the end of the first lap on the rear wheel of pole man Jorge Martin in second.
He said that it was the best start ever in his life. The dynamics of the race changed on lap 7 with Martin's crash, allowing the Ducati rider to attack first with Bastianini on the tail.
He also said that he faced some difficulty in the front. Following Jorge was too much for the rear tire and he was stressed. However, Jorge crashed.
Bastianini managed to overtake his compatriot at Turn 4 on lap 10, but his lead was short-lived as Bagnaya regained the lead.
Quartararo, who had a 91-point lead over Bagnaia at the start of the season, was in the meantime facing a draw with Marco Bezzecchi in third place but kept his block to push back the Grisini Racing driver.
Up front, Bastianini continued to pressure Bagnia, but the Italian kept his composure to cross the finish line for his seventh victory of the season.
He said he did a really very good job concerning the championship. It is also his seventh win. Therefore, he is very happy.
With up to 25 points available at Valencia, Quartaro should win their last Grand Prix in 2022 and have hopes of retaining this world championship with Bagania expected to be in 15th place or lower.