SEPANG, Malaysia — Maverick Vinales rode to his second MotoGP victory of the season in Sunday’s Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix at Sepang Int’l Circuit.
A huge crowd of 103,850 filled the impressive grandstands watched Vinales ride second through the first few corners before taking the lead from Pramac Racing rider Jack Miller before the end of the first lap.
From there, Vinales was in control the rest of the way, bringing his Monster Energy Yamaha to the finish 3.059 seconds ahead of world champion Marc Marquez on a Honda.
“It was an incredible race. We prepared for the race really well all weekend,” Vinales said. “I felt I had a big potential after the first lap. I took the lead after the first two splits and I kept pushing, pushing, and pushing.
“Honestly, I’m so happy. We did a good job. What a shame in Australia, because that was a race where I felt I had a lot of potential too, but being in first place here is amazing. I would like to dedicate this race to Munandar, the kid that passed away yesterday. He was my favourite in the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup. I offer my condolences to all the family.”
Marquez started 11th and romped home second, ending his five-race winning streak.
“It was an incredible race, a great first lap,” Marquez said. “Maybe the best of my career, alongside Mugello 2015 – I watched this lap last night to see what I did! It was a very nice first lap but unfortunately the tire dropped a lot in those first three laps and I lost a little time with Miller.
“Viñales was faster than us today and the target was the podium. I tried to do like in Phillip Island and stay right behind him, but the gap was too big at 1.1 seconds and I made a mistake and dropped back.”
Ducati rider Andrea Dovizioso came home third with Vinales’ Yamaha teammate, Valentino Rossi, fourth. Alex Rins came home fifth for Team Suzuki Ecstar.