Marc Marquez claimed his ninth win of the season.
Marc Marquez claimed his ninth win of the season.

World champion Marc Marquez won his ninth race of the MotoGP season after Italian great Valentino Rossi crashed out four laps from the finish while leading the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Marquez wrapped up his fifth world title with three races to spare in Japan in October but looked like having to settle for second place at the Sepang International Circuit.

Seven-times world champion Rossi had streaked past pole-sitter Johann Zarco at the start and built up a lead when he fell off his bike.

Marquez, who had topped the times in qualifying but relegated six places on the grid for impeding Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone, safely negotiated the remaining four laps to secure his 44th win in the top class of grand prix racing.

The Spaniard’s victory also secured the constructors’ championship for Honda for the fourth consecutive year with one round of the season left.

Alex Rins finished second for Suzuki ahead of Yamaha rider Zarco with Rossi’s teammate Maverick Vinales, who gave Yamaha a first win of the season in Australia last week, a creditable fourth after starting 11th.

Italian Andrea Dovizioso was sixth behind Honda’s Dani Pedrosa to ensure he will finish second in the championship ahead of Rossi, who remounted to cross the line in 18th.

Earlier, both junior titles were decided with Italian Pecco Bagnaia sealing the Moto2 world championship for the Sky Racing VR46 team by finishing third as his teammate Luca Marini, team owner Rossi’s half- brother, secured a maiden victory. SA’s Brad Binder (KTM) was eighth and remains third in the championship

Spain’s Jorge Martin secured the Moto3 title with his seventh win of a season that he has dominated for Honda. — Reuters

ALONSO, JOHNSON SWAP

Twice Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso and seven-times Nascar champion Jimmie Johnson will swap rides at the Bahrain International Circuit a day after the F1 season has ended. Spaniard Alonso, who will retire from F1 after the season finale at Abu Dhabi on November 25, has wasted little time exploring new ways of extending his racing career.

He has received invitations from almost every major world motor racing series from IndyCar, to Formula E and Nascar.

Alonso and Johnson announced the joint test in a video that ended with both drivers teasing each other, asking simultaneously: "Will you let me drive your car?" The answer is "yes" with Alonso getting his hands on Johnson’s Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet and the American jumping into the Spaniard’s McLaren.

Alonso has made no secret of his goal of achieving motor racing’s "Triple Crown" — wins at the Monaco Grand Prix, Le Mans 24 Hours and Indianapolis 500.

Twice triumphant at Monaco and winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race in 2018, Alonso needs victory in the Indianapolis 500 to become only the second driver after the late Briton Graham Hill to claim the prestigious triple crown.

He competed at Indianapolis in 2017 and led before his car’s engine blew. — Reuters

GINIEL BAGS SA TITLE

The Gold 400, the final round of the 2018 SA Cross Country Series that took place last weekend at Glenharvie on the West Rand of Gauteng, delivered championships for both Toyota and Ford.

The battle for the overall title between the two Toyota Gazoo Racing SA teams went to Dakar star Giniel de Villiers and Dennis Murphy, with the pair bringing their Toyota Hilux home in first place ahead of teammates Henk Lategan and Barry White.

The Gold 400 was the deciding event for the Class T championship title with class leaders Lance Woolridge/Ward Huxtable (Ford NWM Ranger) and defending champions Johan/Werner Horn (Malalane Toyota Hilux), locking horns to the end. Gary Bertholdt/Geoff Minnitt (Atlas Copco Toyota Hilux) claimed their second victory of the season, with second place in the class for Woolridge/Huxtable making them the new champions.

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