The MotoGP championship fight will go down to a final round decider after Andrea Dovizioso won a wet Malaysian MotoGP while Marc Marquez was down in fourth place.
As Dovizioso geared up for his last stand and Marquez for his first shot at the 2017 title, Mother Nature decided to get involved with rain coming down in the build-up to Sunday's 20-lap Malaysian MotoGP.
The light drizzle continued to fall as Dani Pedrosa lined up on pole position ahead of Johann Zarco and Dovizioso. Marquez was P7.
Zarco grabbed the holeshot ahead of Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo while Pedrosa dropped to fourth ahead of Dovizioso, who engaged in a tussle with the pole-sitter as they tried to stay on Marquez's rear wheel.
Zarco on board the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha, fitted with the medium front and soft rear wet tyres compared to Lorenzo, Marquez and Dovizioso on the medium-medium combination, built up a lead of almost two seconds over Lorenzo in the opening five laps only for the Ducati rider to lay down back-to-back fastest laps to begin to close the gap.
It was, however, the battle for third that held the intrigue as Dovizioso dived up the inside of Marquez at Turn 14 only to run wide and allow the Honda rider back through – the two almost touching in the process. A lap later he made a move at Turn 4, this time it stuck.
Midway through the race, Lorenzo had hunted down Zarco, making his move at Turn 9 for the first change in leader at the Sepang circuit. Dovizioso followed his Ducati team-mate through at Turn 14 as Zarco began to struggle on his tyres. Marquez was fourth, three seconds down on Lorenzo.
With Dovizioso needing the win if Marquez finished fourth to extend the title fight through to Valencia, it raised the question of team orders at Ducati as Lorenzo held P1 by roughly half a second ahead of his team-mate.
Although Zarco's tyre troubles looked set to drop him into the clutches of Marquez, the Honda rider lacked the pace – and grip – to take advantage.
With six to go Lorenzo built up a lead of over a second ahead of his team-mate, however, two laps later he ran wide, gifting Dovizioso the lead in Malaysia. With Lorenzo nearly on the floor, it looked more like a mistake from the Spaniard than team orders.
Dovizioso raced to the chequered flag ahead of Lorenzo while Zarco, his tyres recovering in the final few laps, joined the Ducati riders on the podium.
Marquez was fourth meaning the title race will go down to the wire at Valencia with the gap down to 21 points in the Honda rider’s favour.
Pole-sitter Pedrosa was a disappointing fifth ahead of Danilo Petrucci and Valentino Rossi. Jack Miller, Maverick Vinales and Pol Espargaro completed the top ten.
Alex Rins and Sam Lowes both crashed twice with Rins black-flagged out of the race while Karel Abraham and Loris Baz went down once and stayed down.
1 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA Ducati Team 44'51.497
2 Jorge LORENZO SPA Ducati Team +0.743
3 Johann ZARCO FRA Monster Yamaha Tech 3 9.738
4 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team 17.763
5 Dani PEDROSA SPA Repsol Honda Team 29.144
6 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA OCTO Pramac Racing 30.380
7 Valentino ROSSI ITA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 30.769
8 Jack MILLER AUS EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 35.238
9 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Movistar Yamaha MotoGP 38.053
10 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 39.847
11 Alvaro BAUTISTA SPA Pull&Bear Aspar Team 42.559
12 Bradley SMITH GBR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 44.602
13 Scott REDDING GBR OCTO Pramac Racing 48.696
14 Hector BARBERA SPA Reale Avintia Racing 50.058
15 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR LCR Honda 50.705
16 Michael VAN DER MARK NED Monster Yamaha Tech 3 56.397
17 Andrea IANNONE ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 58.391
18 Tito RABAT SPA EG 0,0 Marc VDS Honda 1'25.571
Sam LOWES GBR Aprilia Racing Team Gresini 11 Laps
Karel ABRAHAM CZE Pull&Bear Aspar Team 12 Laps
Loris BAZ FRA Reale Avintia Racing 15 Laps
Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 0 Lap