Dani Pedrosa's hopes of winning the MotoGP championship are very much alive after a thrilling performance in dangerously wet conditions in Malaysia.

Despite starting behind Jorge Lorenzo today, Repsol Honda rider Pedrosa was ahead of the championship leader and Casey Stoner before the race was temporarily suspended on lap 14 as the weather worsened in Sepang.

After much deliberation, it was decided to abandon the race to give Spaniard Pedrosa's title hopes a shot in the arm.

Pedrosa is the only conceivable challenger to Lorenzo and he is now just 23 points behind his compatriot with two races remaining.

Valentino Rossi moved up to fourth from 11th on the grid after the first lap, while Lorenzo's Yamaha team-mate Ben Spies crashed out on lap nine.

Pedrosa made his move in the 10th, taking the lead for the first time on the final turn before Cal Crutchlow, Randy de Puniet, Stefan Bradl and Ivan Silva crashed out shortly afterwards.

Lorenzo, closely followed by Pedrosa's team-mate Stoner, nearly followed suit but managed to stay on his bike just before the red flag.

Ducati's Nicky Hayden finished just three seconds behind Stoner in fourth while Rossi had to settle for fifth.