Lorenzo clinches world MotoGP title

SEPANG, Malaysia (AFP) – Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo claimed his first world MotoGP crown on Sunday after finishing third in the Malaysian Grand Prix while team-mate Valentino Rossi won the race with a brilliant performance.

Italian Andrea Dovizioso on a Honda came second.

Lorenzo set himself up to lift the crown by taking pole position, his sixth of the season.

Former world champion Australian Casey Stoner crashed out on lap two.

The 31-year-old Rossi, who joins Ducati next season, put in a spectacular performance to power his machine from the second row to beat Dovizioso and his team-mate Lorenzo to the chequered flag.

Rossi stamped his dominance over the other talented riders from the 10th lap, leading the pack until the end of the race. He had battled his way from 11th on the first lap .

The Italian clocked 41 minutes 3.448 seconds in the 20-lap race while Dovizioso was just 0.224 seconds behind.

Rossi has a strong record in Malaysia and last year clinched the MotoGP world title at Sepang when he finishing third after starting from pole.

It was a dream weekend for Lorenzo after the only man who could stop him from being proclaimed champion Honda rider Dani Pedrosa pulled out having fractured his collarbone in a crash in Motegi last week.

Lorenzo was in imperious form during the early part of the race -- leading the other riders -- but tyre concerns forced him to be cautious.

"When the tyre started to slide, I decided (just) to finish the race," he said. "Today is the happiest day of my life and I want to celebrate it."

Earlier, his post-race party on the track ended abrutly when a Spanish flag got entangled round the side of his rear tyre.

Rossi said it was great to secure his 46th victory with Yamaha. It was his second win of the season, the previous being in Qatar.

"To win on this track is important. Now I am back to clinch victories," he said.

Rossi said he rode a fast pace and concentrated on leading the pack as he was able to accelerate quickly out of corners.

"I had a great pace. Lap by lap I was able to catch-up with Dovizioso and Lorenzo. I never give up. I gave all my energy to win," he said.

The superb win in Malaysia pushed Rossi up to third position behind the injured Pedrosa from fifth in Japan. Rossi has 181 points and Pedrosa 228.

Dovizioso, who is fourth in the overall standings, said it was a tough battle as he struggled in vain to overtake Rossi.

"Anyway, the second position is a victory for me. It is important for us to win in the remaining races," he said.

Meanwhile Spain`s Toni Elias clinched the first-ever Moto2 world championship crown as Italy`s Roberto Rolfo won the race.

A fourth-placed finish was enough for Elias to claim the championship.

Spain`s Marc Marquez on a Derbi won the 125cc race ahead of Pol Espargaro also on a Derbi and Nicolas Terol on an Aprilia.

The determined 17-year-old pole starter clinched his eighth win of the season.

After Malaysia, the riders will head to the Australian Grand Prix at Phillip Island on October 17 and then to Estoril on October 31. The championship ends on November 7 in Valencia.