Dovizioso pips Rossi for maiden victory in wet Malaysia
Andrea Dovizioso won his first MotoGP race in seven years yesterday, pulling away from legend Valentino Rossi late in the Malaysia Grand Prix to take the chequered flag for Ducati.
Starting from pole position, the Italian fell back early as he and a number of riders struggled on the rain-soaked Sepang International Circuit.
But Dovizioso steadily reeled in his compatriot Rossi, taking the lead back with six laps to go and quickly opening up a gap as Rossi was slowed by tyre issues.
Dovizioso, 30, finished 3.115secs ahead of Rossi for his maiden win of the season and first since 2009.
Rossi, however, clinched second place in the 2016 world championship over his Yamaha teammate and rival Jorge Lorenzo of Spain.
Lorenzo, who will switch to Ducati next year, finished third.
Honda's Marc Marquez wrapped up the world championship two weeks earlier in Japan.
Dovizioso called the win the biggest of his career.
"It's really nice to come to this moment. I struggled a lot in the race and had some problems, but I really wanted it," he said.
Riders complained that the track, newly repaved, was draining unevenly after rain, creating alternating wet and dry patches.
Much of the race was a duel between Rossi and Dovizioso's Ducati teammate Andrea Iannone, who returned for the first time since suffering a vertebrae fracture in a crash last month.
France's Johann Zarco won in Moto2 to become the first man to repeat since the championship was introduced in 2010.
He became the first French rider to win more than one championship in Grand Prix Racing, according to MotoGP.