Roby Rolfo withstood immense pressure from fellow Italian Alex de Angelis to win a cracking Malaysian Moto2 Grand Prix and in the process score his first victory since Jerez 2004.
The 30-year-old Italtrans STR Suter rider needed all of his experience to outfox fellow veteran de Angelis on the last lap as the pair circulated as one, with the Motobi rider frequently ducking out of the tow, but ultimately in vain.
Toni Elias (LEFT) was crowned the first Moto2 champion with fourth place after a similarly breathless fight with Andrea Iannone for third place. That position eventually went to Iannone after the pair had dropped off an absorbing four-way fight for the lead in the final few laps.
Iannone, who led for several laps himself before making a couple of mistakes on lap 15, eventually managed to maintain third from the Spanish Gresini rider. Elias didn't care, though, a world title finally in his pocket, he stopped on the slowdown lap to change into a silver suit for the inevitable celebration.
Elias's only challenger for the championship, Julian Simon, self-imploded with two huge mistakes within a lap of one another early on.
The Spaniard had dropped to ninth from pole, but fought his way back into the leading group only to send his Aspar-run Suter down the road at the quick right-hander behind the pits on lap eight. By that stage though he was suffering from red mist, having already backed the bike up at Turn 2, dropping back to ninth. He rejoined to eventually finish 21st, releasing Elias from any remaining championship pressure to focus on the fight at the front.
Alex Debon, who is set to retire at the end of the year, made it a good day for the veterans with fifth place. That position had previously been occupied by Scott Redding, but the young Briton was eventually forced to retire through exhaustion in the extreme humidity.
Karel Abraham eventually took sixth following a massive battle with Stefan Bradl and Dominique Aegerter. Jules Cluzel and Simone Corsi completed the top 10.
Pos Rider Bike Time/Gap
1. Roberto Rolfo Suter 41m09.412s
2. Alex de Angelis Motobi + 0.040s
3. Andrea Iannone Speed Up + 5.915s
4. Toni Elias Moriwaki + 6.322s
5. Alex Debon FTR + 11.912s
6. Karel Abraham FTR + 12.458s
7. Stefan Bradl Suter + 12.519s
8. Dominique Aegerter Suter + 12.589s
9. Jules Cluzel Suter + 15.010s
10. Simone Corsi Motobi + 16.707s
11. Hector Faubel Suter + 20.179s
12. Alex Baldolini ICP + 20.462s
13. Yonny Hernandez BQR + 21.638s
14. Michael Ranseder Suter + 22.388s
15. Claudio Corti Suter + 24.512s
16. Ratthapark Wilairot Bimota + 26.366s
17. Axel Pons Pons Kalex + 30.730s
18. Kenny Noyes Promoharris + 31.080s
19. Fonsi Nieto Moriwaki + 32.239s
20. Valentin Debise ADV + 33.804s
21. Julian Simon Suter + 39.448s
22. Mohamad Zamri Baba Moriwaki + 46.031s
23. Joan Olive Promoharris + 47.257s
24. Anthony West MZ + 50.058s
25. Kazuki Watanabe Suter + 50.830s
26. Mike di Meglio Suter + 51.971s
27. Robertino Pietri Suter + 59.155s
28. Hiromichi Kunikawa Bimota + 1m16.759s
29. Mashel Al Naimi BQR + 1m43.949s
Gabor Talmacsi Speed Up 13 laps
Scott Redding Suter 13 laps
Sergio Gadea Pons Kalex 13 laps
Raffaele De Rosa Tech 3 10 laps
Yuki Takahashi Tech 3 8 laps
Thomas Luthi Moriwaki 7 laps
Vladimir Ivanov Moriwaki 6 laps
Javier Fores Bimota 6 laps
Ferruccio Lamborghini Moriwaki 6 laps
Yannick Guerra Moriwaki 1 lap