Bagnaia, aiming for his second world championship, initially led the sprint after starting from pole at the Sepang International Circuit.However, the 26-year-old Italian faced a challenge from Marquez in the latter part of the race, losing control and ultimately finishing third. Adding to Bagnaia’s woes, debris got stuck to his Ducati’s right wing on lap seven, causing him to lose ground to Martin and fall into the grasp of teammate Bastianini.
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Notably, Bagnaia had set a lap record of 1:57.491 earlier in the event. The outcome of the sprint narrowed Bagnaia’s championship lead over Spain’s Martin to 11 points, setting the stage for Sunday’s race.
Enea Bastianini secured the fourth position, contributing to Ducati’s dominance in the top four places. KTM’s Brad Binder emerged as the top non-Ducati rider, finishing fifth, while Australian Jack Miller claimed the sixth spot. Another title contender, Marco Bezzecchi, settled for seventh place.
Frenchman Johann Zarco and Luca Marini rounded off the riders in the points. Factory Honda faced setbacks, with crashes for both riders, as Marc Marquez recovered to finish 21st, and Joan Mir took the last position. Ducati wildcard Alvaro Bautista found himself between the two Honda riders in 22nd place.
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