Valentino Rossi made it three in a row this weekend when he claimed his seventh victory of the year ahead of Sete Gibernau and successfully defended his MotoGP World Championship in Sepang.
Rossi bided his time through the opening laps behind the Spaniard before seizing the lead and then comfortably controlling the distance until the flag and more title glory.
Gibernau was alone in second and had no answer to Rossi’s determination to seal his fifth crown in four classifications.
Max Biaggi forced his way to third in front of Carlos Checa during the early stages, and then also remained distant and solitary for his third podium result from the last four GPs. Nicky Hayden completed an awesome race in the latter half of the distance to pass both Loris Capirossi and Checa to finish fourth. Tohru Ukawa was seventh behind Capirossi with Shinya Nakano, Troy Bayliss and Makoto Tamada assuming positions in the top section of the classification.
Alex Barros managed to capture a Championship point in 15th in front of highest Kawasaki rider Andrew Pitt despite a crash on the second corner that left him dead last and playing catch-up throughout the 21 laps.
The ‘chain’ gang was back out for another of the Italian’s zany celebrations on the slow-down lap and with two races to go in the 2003 contest the 24 year old will now have to satisfy the intense speculation surrounding his future with Yamaha surprisingly emerging as the name from the paddock this weekend as contenders to secure his signature for 2004. ‘The Doctor’ wins the ’03 title with a gap of 63 points over Gibernau and 92 from Biaggi.