Rating 2022 Malaysian Grand Prix MotoGP Riders
It may not be the day that the MotoGP Championship of 2022 is decided. Still, Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix was the most decisive day in the second half of Pecco Bagnaia’s dominant season as the Ducati riders won it brilliantly. He also defended against tough Enea Bastianini and a slow push from his only title rival, Fabio Quartararo.
Quartaro will also have to be encouraged to reach the final on a day when he should theoretically hand over the crown, given Ducati's strength at Sepang, and after battling front-row rookie Marco. Bezzecchi made headlines among a series of other powerful performances.
And like every Sunday, when it comes to evaluating performance on the grid, that means a lot to talk about.
Our MotoGP ranking system is simple: the riders we think perform best in each race are at the top and those who underperform are at the bottom and get a fair score.
It's not just about the final result, the expectations and pre-race form and a weekend before the race strongly affect the final score, not just the points scored every Sunday afternoon.
10. Pecco Bagnaia
Pecco Bagnaia has proven to be quite adept at bending under pressure in the past - and on Sunday Enea Bastianini pushed hard.
Not only did he fight back and stay on his motorcycle, but Bagnaia also stood on top and put his hand on the championship trophy in the process.
It's one of the best games of his career and it will cement the first Ducati title for cyclists in 15 years.
10. Fabio Quartararo
Even if it won't be enough for another title in the end to win the championship.
Given everything we know about the Yamaha M1's shortcomings, it all seemed to be over when Fabio Quartaro reached number 12, and the Frenchman with a small fracture in the middle finger of his left hand admitted he didn't think it was possible.
But in the final step, along with an exhilarating start to secure a clear track ahead, Quartararo gave everything he had and finally gave up on his bike, not himself.
8.5 Marco Bezzecchi
Yet another incredible Rookie of the Year run, this one comes with a smart running twist.
At the start, Bezzecchi closed the gap with Fabio Quartararo in third place. Sometimes stealth is the best part of courage and he showed that by finishing fourth. There will be other days to fight for the podiums, but the fourth finish is a pretty good score.
8 Cal Crutchlow
It's hard to argue that Cal Crutchlow isn't exactly what Yamaha needs this year: a sprinter.
Giving good performance back to back since returning to MotoGP to replace Andrea Dovizioso is not just for him. It is also good for Quartararo's 2023 title goals, given the manufacturer of his new bike.
Including the wet weather event earlier in the weekend, the result at Yamaha-opposed Sepang was undoubtedly the best of Crutchlow's latest comeback.
8 Enea Bastianini
Sunday's race was a perfect example of how well Bastianini can maintain a balance between wisdom and madness.
Within his ability to fight for victory, especially since he was third in the championship standings, he did this in a very dangerous way that could have ended in disaster.
However, that is not the case in the end. He piles up the podium again and is one step closer to the end-of-the-year great prize.
8 Marc Marquez
It was the strongest weekend of Marc Marquez's new comeback to date.
The Repsol Honda rider impressed on Saturday's solo qualifying lap with a good performance on Sunday on a physically demanding circuit and a disappointing bike performance to arrive late in - not recently.
It's not as big of a podium finish as it was last time in Australia, but it could be a more important result.
7.5 Raul Fernandez
One of the rookie's best results of the year wasn't because he beat his teammate to score points, but because he came home just two steps behind factory rider (and 2023 RNF Aprilia teammate) Miguel Oliveira. It was a tough weekend for KTM.
7.5 Alex Rins
After another strong showing against Phillip Island last weekend, Reigns did not anticipate the pace of victory against Sepang. The long road to Malaysia.
7 Jack Miller
A crash in qualifying caused all the problems for Jack Miller at Sepang.
He fell behind the net, tangled up in the usual mess of the first lap, and then had to work his way forward. His recovery was indeed impressive as he was dead by the end of the first lap.
It's not just the final result that matters, but the fact that we made it to the grid without burning tires.
7 Brad Binder
Brad Binder was steady this Sunday. Although the result is nothing special, it was the best KTM performance after a tough weekend for the Austrian brand in every way.
6.5 Franco Morbidelli
This weekend is all about highs and lows for Franco Morbidelli. Not only did he look like a man on the track back in racing, but he was also able to put on an impressive performance in qualifying. His lap speed was the biggest hurdle this year.
6 Johann Zarco
After a poor start with a poor qualifying position and then a dip on a turbulent first lap, Johann Zarco may not be as disappointed with the final result as he has been throughout the race.
While he's nowhere near his best weekend of the year, his position on the Satellite team means he can have weird days that aren't exceptional.
5.5 Miguel Oliviera
There's nothing special about Oliveira's result in a tough weekend.
Suffering under braking, as KTM riders do, then he started having tire issues that locked up the front load as he raced again and again. Another runner whose 2022 finish probably cannot come soon enough.
5 Alex Espargaro
Espargaro's title hopes are finally over. It's really hard to blame the Spaniard too much, given the repeated problems that not only he but his teammate Maverick and his Vinales have encountered during the trip.
It's clear that Aprilia has something very wrong at the moment, and as a result, he's been able to get back in shape for 2021.
5 Luca Marini
Luca Marini's race ended before it even started as the front ride height device stuck the suspension in place.
His first DNF race in MotoGP for nearly three full seasons in his top-tier career is a testament to the Italian's impressive consistency.
4.5 Joan Mir
Sunday's race had more chances for Joan Mir. But, with a recent injury-prolonged halt, the Spaniard's chances were unexpectedly dashed as he battled for the top five with arm pump problems.
Unable to practice on the bike recently due to a broken ankle, he was a bit rusty in the race and unable to get full control of the Suzuki, getting off the GSX-RR machine and reconnecting it before finishing last.
The good news is that the rhythm at least indicates that he is back in shape.
4 Maverick Vinales
Like teammate Espargaro, Vinales paid the price for another tough weekend for Aprilia. However, unlike Espargaro, he recovered somewhat as he continued to lower the score to make it an even better year in his Yamaha career.
4 Fabio Di Giannantonio
Fabio Di Giannantonio, who was caught off-camera in an accident out of sympathy for Darryn Binder, has had a relatively good race so far.
Difficult conditions like those at Binder played a role, but this is mainly due to him being inexperienced.
3.5 Remy Gardener
Unfortunately, Remy Gardner seems to have pushed himself into a corner somewhat.
Claiming that he was fired from KTM for being unprofessional, he doesn't seem too concerned about convincing his former employer of the wrongdoing. Moreover, after the race in Sepang, where he was overtaken by his teammate, he seemed to be focusing on 2023, not 2022, as he looks to turn his awesome world with the GRT.
3 Pol Espargaro
Poor qualification, as well as a three-place penalty, led to a slow start to the race, limiting Espargaro's chances of taking a stand.
Other than this, there is not enough to say that it's just another poor performance in a terrible season for Espargaro and a KTM comeback just can't come soon enough.
2 Jorge Martin
Having a great start from the pole position and taking the wheel without any pressure from anyone makes us rethink why the factory chose Enya Bastianini over Jorge Martin in 2023.
He had the chance to get great results but threw them away.
2 Alex Marquez
Alex Marquez made a startling revelation after Sunday's race, acknowledging that what got him through tough days on the LCR Honda was looking at the final results to see where Ducatis finished while focusing on it prepared to switch to Italian machines with Gresini for next year.
With that in mind, he appears to have played it safe on Sunday, intending to go through the year unscathed.