Despite Bautista race victory
Alvaro Bautista won the 250cc battle in Sepang, but third place for Marco Simoncelli meant that it was the latter who was victorious in the season-long war for the quarter-litre title.
With just one round to go, Simoncelli now has an
insurmountable advantage over the Spaniard in the World Championship standings, taking a first Grand Prix title to complete his breakthrough 2008 season.
Bautista knew upon arrival in Malaysia that simply winning would not be enough, and slowed up the pace when he took the lead in order to put bikes between himself and his Italian rival.
With the frontrunners just too hot for the rest of the field to handle, the Mapfre Aspar rider eventually pulled away, taking victory number four of the season and confirming the runner-up spot in this year´s campaign.
Starting from pole position, Hiroshi Aoyama stepped onto the podium for the second time this season with second place, selling himself to interested parties after finding out this weekend that he is now a free agent for 2009. The Red Bull KTM rider was unable to repeat his 2007 Sepang victory as Bautista pulled away with a new circuit record, but came home in second place after a series of stints at the head of the race.
Simoncelli took his third rostrum finish in succession, greeted by his pit board announcing `You have won the World Championship´ The Italian celebrated with a burnout and a lap of the Sepang circuit, and was joined in parc ferme by MotoGP titlist and friend Valentino Rossi.
JiR Team Scot´s Yuki Takahashi came home in fourth, ahead of Lotus Aprilia riders Aleix Espargaro and Alex Debon. Espargaro had taken the holeshot and led the first two laps of the Polini Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix, his first time at the front of a 250cc race. Roberto Locatelli, home rider Ratthapark Wilairot, Thomas Luthi and Lukas Pesek completed the top ten in the quarter-litre race.