The Italian produced one of the finest displays of his distinguished career, recovering from a dire start to overhaul early leaders Jorge Lorenzo and Andrea Dovizioso by the halfway stage.
Valentino Rossi’s Sepang MotoGP victory will live long in the memory after the Italian fought his way through from 11th to take his 46th win for Yamaha.
The Fiat Yamaha rider, who feared he would have to withdraw from the championship after the next race in Phillip Island to undergo surgery on his damaged right shoulder, held off a fierce challenge from Dovizioso to win for only the second time in 2010.
The nine-times world champion said: “This is a wonderful moment for me, I am so happy to win like this and take my 46th win with Yamaha on ‘my' M1.
"It was one of my worst starts and for a moment I was really worried, but within a few corners I understood that I could go for it, because my bike felt great. I rode so well and it was a fantastic race. I wanted this 46th win so much because as everyone knows it's a special number for me!
"Thanks to my team because everyone worked so hard this weekend and I think this is a great repayment for everyone. To win like this, from 11th at the first corner, is a great feeling.
"Finally I want to say congratulations to Yamaha and to Jorge; he has been fast all season, at all tracks and in all conditions and he deserves to be the world champion."