Marc Marquez clinched his fourth MotoGP title in five years after title rival Andrea Dovizioso crashed out in Valencia on Sunday.
The world champion in 2013, 2014 and 2016, Marquez came into the year's last event as heavy favourite to finish top of the standings again, given his 21-point lead over nearest challenger Dovizioso.
Dovizioso needed a win and for Marquez to finish outside the top 11 in the season-closing race, but he ran wide with five laps to go to leave his bike in the gravel.
The Italian's task was made more difficult by the lack of support from Ducati team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, who was seemingly unwilling to let his colleague past when the pair were fourth and fifth for much of the race.
Marquez, who produced a wonderful save to avoid crashing out himself shortly before Dovizioso's race-ending incident, finished third to win the title by 37 points.
Team-mate Dani Pedrosa, meanwhile, overtook Johann Zarco on the final lap to claim his second win of the season.
The permutations were not lost on Marquez during a tactical opening few laps.
The Spaniard made his pole position stick and was swiftly joined by Pedrosa at the head of the field, the 32-year-old protecting Marquez from behind as Zarco looked to pounce.
When Zarco eventually made his move on Pedrosa, Marquez was more than happy to allow the Tech 3 pass him too, avoiding the potentially costly pitfalls of a battle for the lead.
One man demonstrating less regard for the title ramifications was Lorenzo, who proved to be one of the biggest obstacles to Dovizioso.
The Italian had started ninth and, after making quick progress into the top five, he found three-time champion and team-mate Lorenzo less than helpful to his cause.
The frustration in the Ducati garage at the situation was clear and, when Marquez ran off after briefly re-taking the lead from Zarco, it looked like the team may be left pondering what might have been if Lorenzo had played ball.
However, Marquez recovered to rejoin the race in fifth and, almost as soon as a Lorenzo error had Dovizioso in the clear, the 31-year-old blew what remained of his slim chances.
With Dovizioso out, Marquez's result was not important - he was guaranteed a fourth world title, becoming the youngest man to reach that tally in the premier class.
IN THE POINTS
1. Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda) 46:08.125
2. Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) +0.337s
3. Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) +10.861s
4. Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) + 13.567s
5. Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha) +13.817s
6. Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar) +14.516s
7. Jack Miller (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) +17.087s
8. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) +17.230s
9. Michele Pirro (Ducati) +25.942s
10. Tito Rabat (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) +27.020s
11. Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) +30.835s
12. Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha) +35.012s
13. Danilo Petrucci (OCTO Pramac Racing) +38.076s
14. Karel Abraham (Pull&Bear Aspar) +41.988s
15. Hector Barbera (Reale Avintia Racing) +47.703s
25 de septiembre 2018
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