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Ducati’s Enea Bastianini clinched his first race victory of the season when he won the Malaysian Grand Prix ahead of Gresini’s Álex Márquez on Sunday, while Jorge Martín failed to close the gap on the championship leader, Francesco Bagnaia.

Bagnaia started in pole position but finished third while Pramac Racing’s Martín, who was second fastest in qualifying, finished a distant fourth to fall 14 points behind Bagnaia in the overall standings.

Victory was sweet redemption for Bastianini, who broke his shoulder in the season-opening sprint in Portugal, while he missed more races after undergoing surgery in September to mend broken bones in his left hand and left ankle.

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The 25-year-old Italian was under pressure for results after making the switch to the factory Ducati team and he became the seventh different rider to win a race this season.

“I’m so tired. I gave my 100% today. After a long time without a podium, I’ve got this victory,” Bastianini said. “My family and friends know what I’ve had to do to arrive here, it’s fantastic.”

Bastianini and Saturday’s sprint winner, Márquez, were both quick off the line and left the two title contenders behind on the opening lap with some serious pace up front. The four riders then left the chasing pack behind as Bastianini extended his lead over Márquez while Martín had a couple of opportunities to overtake Bagnaia.

But as the race wore on, Martín was forced to back off as he sought to conserve his tyres in the searing heat at the Sepang International Circuit while Bagnaia also appeared content to bide his time in third place.

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“I tried to close the gap to Alex and Bastianini, but I was really struggling with the braking … but I’m happy to keep a gap in the championship,” Bagnaia said.

With two laps to go, Martín was nearly six seconds behind Bagnaia and the Spaniard was seen shaking his head, knowing he had missed out on yet another opportunity to close the gap in the battle for the championship.

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Yamaha’s Fabio Quartararo prevented an all-Ducati top five and spoiled Marco Bezzecchi’s 25th birthday when he overtook the VR46 Racing rider in the dying stages to push him down to sixth.

The MotoGP championship has two more races left this season in Qatar and Valencia.