Not even a penalty could stop Marquez from charging to victory in Malaysia, where race leader Valentino Rossi guttingly crashed in the closing stage of the race, promoting the Spaniard to 1st. A brilliant Alex Rins finishes in 2nd ahead of Johann Zarco, who was engaged in a last-lap fight with Yamaha's Maverick Vinales.
Valentino Rossi stormed to the lead at the start, pipping promoted polesitter Johann Zarco and Jack Miller. Marc Marquez from 7th started recovering from the very first lap, almost colliding with his teammate and jumping to fourth at the beginning of the second lap, when Andrea Iannone crashed out right behind him, just seconds after the Spaniard nearly lost his bike.
Marquez got rid of Miller, taking advantage of a small mistake of the Australian as he ran wide, and targeted Zarco in 2nd. The Honda rider showed off a blistering pace, proving he could get hold of Rossi in a couple of laps, after charging to 2nd with 16 laps to go.
Daniel Pedrosa was engaged in a compelling fight against Jack Miller and Alex Rins, with Andrea Dovizioso joining the battle once he made a mistake and lost P4 to Pedrosa. In the meantime, Ducati’s Michele Pirro ruinously fell off at Turn 15, ruling himself out of the race.
Marquez kept lapping in P2, as Valentino Rossi stepped it up by widening the gap to 1 second. Also Maverick Vinales, who was down in 7th, displayed a rather competitive pace getting into the second half of the race. With 8 laps to go, Marquez started closing in on Rossi, while Vinales bolted to 5th in pursuit of Rins (4th) by getting through Pedrosa.
Valentino Rossi clamorously fell off his bike with just four laps to go, handing the lead to Marquez, who was pressuring him by gaining tenth after tenth. Therefore, the Spaniard had a 4-second gap to manage for the short remainder of the race, as Rins, Zarco and a vehement Vinales were battling it out for second.
The Yamaha rider missed out on the podium by less than a second, but in the second half of the race he showcased a highly competitive rythm. It was a positive one for the retiring Pedrosa, who finished in P5 ahead of a rather dull Dovizioso and Alvaro Bautista. Alma Pramac's Miller and Petrucci respectively finished 8th and 9th and rookie Hafizh Syahrin rounds up the top 10 after his first intense and emotional home race in the premier class.