Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) took his 12th race win of the 2015 season after first Tom Sykes (KRT) and then Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati WSB) led a dramatic 16-lap race at Sepang.
Davies would finish second but Sykes was only to finish fifth.
The remarkable Max Biaggi (Aprilia Racing Team) used all his years of experience to take an unexpected podium, albeit ten seconds down on Rea.
After a start from pole position Sykes scorched away to set a new lap record of 2’03.654 on lap two, more than one second better than the previous best, set on 2014 by a full power Aprilia and Marco Melandri.
Still inside the 2’04s by lap seven, when all the other top competitors were into the 2’05s, Sykes piled on his joy and their misery lap after lap to make a 3.2 second lead.
It was not to last, and emphatically so.
With Rea – starting from the third row at the beginning - lining up Davies on lap ten, the battle for second was intense and absorbing, but allowed Sykes to keep his three second advantage for a time, slowly reduced as he started to set laps in the high 2’05s.
Jordi Torres (Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils) was winning the war of the three Aprilias at the beginning, three seconds up on Biaggi but eventually Leon Haslam (Aprilia Racing Team - Red Devils) was also struggling to keep pace with the Italian rider.
A hard drop in pace from the Spaniard saw him get behind his chasing RSV-4RF riders, with some of his suddenly laps into the 2’10 sector.
At the same time Sykes started to slow dramatically and a 2’06.613 from him allowed Davies and Rea to get within 1.7 with five laps to go and one lap later see Davies overtake to lead.
Rea almost lost his win when he ran wide on the final corner but he ducked inside Davies again and won by only 0.121 seconds.
Sykes was into the 2’10s and finally setting a 2’15 lap on the last time around, allowing Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda WSB) to score fourth place.
Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki) was sixth and Haslam seventh.