Slip in the wet: Fabio Quartararo finished ninth but still leads the MotoGP world championship. ­— AP

PETALING JAYA: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team rider Fabio Quartararo’s hopes of becoming the first Frenchman to win his home Grand Prix in Le Mans was washed away by the inclement weather.

A sudden downpour three minutes before the start forced organisers to postpone the flag-off.

The race resumed after some delay but Quartararo’s momentum was affected and he did not get off to a good start from pole in the MotoGP race and was immediately passed by several riders after the first lap.

Quartararo, struggling to get to grips with the wet condition, eventually finished ninth but to his relief continues to keep his world championship lead intact.

Quartararo, with 115 points, extended his lead by 10 points over closest rival Joan Mir of Spain, who only finished 11th yesterday.

Ducati rider Danilo Petrucci of Italy claimed his second career MotoGP win and becomes the seventh different winner of the world championship this year.

MotoGP rookie Alex Marquez produced an outstanding performance in the wet to finish second for Honda after starting from 18th – his first premier class podium.

Pol Espargaro of Italy claimed the last podium spot for KTM.

Quartararo’s teammate Franco Morbidelli also did not have a good day.

The Italian crashed with nine laps to go after starting from 11th to complete a tough day at the office for the duo.

In Moto3, Petronas Sprinta Racing Team rider John McPhee’s title bid suffered a big blow with another crash.

McPhee made a sluggish start from third on the starting grid and dropped back to 10th but his campaign ended after 18 laps when the bike of another crash incident strayed into his path.

McPhee also failed to finish the race in Misano two weeks ago.

The Scotsman dropped to fifth from third previously in the standings with 98 points. Spaniard Albert Arenas, who finished third in yesterday’s race, regained the championship lead with 135 points.

Italians Celestino Vietti and Tony Arbolino finished first and second respectively.

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