Newly crowned world champion Marc Marquez won a season record-equalling 12th MotoGP race with victory at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard, who clinched his second successive title in Japan two weeks ago, had a poor start from pole but clawed his way back to the front to finish nearly three seconds ahead of runner-up Valentino Rossi.
Yamaha rider Jorge Lorenzo briefly held the lead early but was reeled in to finish third, while Marquez’s Honda team mate Dani Pedrosa was forced to retire after crashing twice in his eight laps.
Marquez’s win equalled Australian Mick Doohan’s 12 race wins from 1997 and the 21-year-old has the chance to claim the record outright with victory in the final race at Valencia.
The win also sealed the constructor’s title for Honda, their 21st in premier class racing.
Marquez will head to Valencia on 337 points, carrying a 62-point lead over Yamaha’s Italian great Rossi. Lorenzo remains third in the championship on 263 points ahead of Pedrosa.
German Stefan Bradl was fourth on a Honda, with Yamaha’s Briton Bradley Smith fifth.
“I’m really happy with the race. The strongest opponent was the weather, it was really hot,” said Marquez. “I’ve equalled Mick Doohan’s record, with one race left maybe I can beat it!
“If I had a bad result here the pressure in Valencia would be more. But now I am free in Valencia and I can do well for my fans and just enjoy it.”