Scott Redding's Moto2 championship lead is down to just nine points over Pol Espargaro with three rounds left after a tough race for the Briton at Sepang.
Redding had only qualified 10th, while Espargaro started from the front row.
A brilliant first lap brought Redding up to fourth, only for a horrific five-bike midfield crash to cause a red flag. All involved escaped serious injury.
At the restart, Espargaro took the lead while Redding had to avoid a collision between Xavier Simeon and Alex de Angelis and fell to 12th.
Espargaro was ultimately defeated by Pons teammate Tito Rabat, but overcame Tom Luthi to secure second after a long battle.
Redding could only get up to sixth and then lost another place to Johann Zarco when he ran wide at the final corner.