October 11th, 2010, 20:20 PM
Jorge Lorenzo secures MotoGP world title
Jorge Lorenzo has been crowned MotoGP world champion after finishing third in the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.
The Fiat Yamaha rider came home behind Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso, which was enough for him to secure the title with three races to go.
Reigning champion Rossi started sixth, slipped down to 11th but worked his way back up and into the lead on lap 10.
Rossi, whose season was disrupted by a broken leg, held on for his first win since the opening day of the season.
In contrast to his fellow Italian, Dovizioso got a good start from third place and was soon putting pressure on pole sitter Lorenzo.
While Rossi slipped backwards through the field, Casey Stoner's hopes of a third consecutive race win were ended on the first lap as he crashed on the final bend.
Dovizioso and Lorenzo broke clear of the pack while Rossi dragged himself back into contention, as he went in search of a sixth elite-class win in Malaysia.
He closed the gap on lap nine, just as Dovizioso was taking the lead, and soon passed both the leading pair to go in front on lap 11.
Lorenzo seemed happy to settle for a top-three finish, rather than do anything more risky, leaving Rossi and Dovizoso to battle it out for victory, and although they swapped the lead on lap 16, Rossi eventually held on for victory.
Going into the race, the world title was Lorenzo's to lose.
He only needed finish in the top 10 to be crowned champion in succession to team-mate and rival Rossi, and with the Spaniard's worst finish this year having been fourth, that was never in serious doubt.
Before Sepang, Lorenzo had taken control of the world title race with seven wins.
Defending champion Rossi's season never recovered after he broke his leg at the Italian Grand Prix at Mugello in June, meaning Lorenzo's fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa was his only serious rival for the title.
But hopes of an end of season battle between the pair were dashed when Pedrosa crashed in practice for last weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, breaking his collarbone and putting him out of the races in Japan and Malaysia, although he hopes to return next week in Australia.
Malaysian MotoGP result:
1. V Rossi (Ita) Fiat Yamaha
2. A Dovizioso (Ita) Repsol Honda
3. J Lorenzo (Sp) Fiat Yamaha
4. B Spies (USA) Tech 3 Yamaha
5. A Bautista (Spa) Rizla Suzuki
6. N Hayden (USA) Ducati
7. H Aoyama (Jpn) Interwetten Honda
8. M Simoncelli (Ita) Gresini Honda
1. J Lorenzo (Sp) Yamaha 313 world champion
2. D Pedrosa (Sp) Honda 228
3. V Rossi (It) Yamaha 181
4. C Stoner (Aus) Ducati 180
5. A Dovizioso (It) Honda 179
6. B Spies (US) Yamaha 152
7. N Hayden (US) Ducati 139
8. R de Puniet (Fr) Honda 94