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Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) claimed his seventh success of the campaign at the PETRONAS Grand Prix of Malaysia, penultimate clash of the 20-round 2022 MotoGPTM World Campionsip. The Italian finished on top after a splendid fight with second-placed Enea Bastianini (2nd, Gresini MotoGP Racing) and Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) who scored his first podium in some time. The performance of the MICHELIN Power tire range contributed to several new records in the weekend’s mixed conditions.
Bagnaia leapt from ninth on the grid to appear in second spot on the first of the afternoon’s 20 laps, just behind Jorge Martin who claimed pole-position after bettering the previous track lap-record in qualifying by more than half-a-second.
The Spanish rider fell on Lap 7, however, which allowed Bagnaia through, albeit under pressure from Bastianini who took command four laps later. But the championship-leader then used his confidence in the consistency and grip of his MICHELIN Power tires to up his pace, recover the lead on Lap 14 and ultimately defend it all the way to the checkered flag.
In addition to establishing a new shortest race-duration record for Malaysia, the Italian became the first Ducati rider to tally seven wins in a single season.
Bastianini collected second place, ahead of the on-form Quartararo who had performed a perfect getaway from 12th on the grid. Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) and Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) were fourth and fifth.
The MICHELIN Power range proved its strength yet again, providing the riders with the confidence, grip and consistency they needed across a wide range of conditions, with rain tires even coming out for Free Practice 2 and Sunday’s warm-up. The French firm’s MotoGPTM rubber helped both Martin and Bastianini to improve on Quartararo’s previous track lap-record from 2019 by more than 0.5s. The weather was cooler for the race than it had been during the different practice sessions and the entire field opted for the medium front and soft rear, a combination that saw Martin beat the race lap-record second time around.
Bagnaia’s win has extended his lead in the provisional Riders’ standings but Quartararo (+23 points) is still in contention, which means the championship will be settled at Valencia, Spain, in two weeks’ time.
Next round: Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Spain (November 4-6).