MotoGP World Championship – Malaysian Grand Prix
World Champion Márquez
Five years after winning the Moto3 world championship, Álex Márquez took the Moto2 class title by making it to the second step of the Malaysian Grand Prix podium.
After three races that prevented him from being among the front-runners, Álex Márquez made it back to the podium in Malaysia, on a day when he could not afford to lose more than eight points to Brad Binder or three to Tom Lüthi if he wanted to secure the world championship title. And he wanted. By finishing second in the wake of the South African, and ahead of the Swiss rider who could also have taken the title, the Marc VDS rider snatched the crown. Leader for four laps, he did not insist when Binder overtook him, happy simply to manage his lead over Lüthi. “I am very, very happy,” commented the Spaniard. “Everyone has done an incredible job to help me feel confident all season long, especially this weekend. We arrived here after a series of complicated races. This one was difficult today, but I handled it as best I could.” Teammate Xavi Vierge posted his best result of the season, finishing fourth. “We found a good base of settings in Australia and when we arrived here everything worked well in the first practice session,” he said. “I was able to change my style of riding, I had a good pace in the race and I didn’t finish very far from the podium.” On the team Tech 3 side, Philipp Oettl finished 21st but Marco Bezzecchi didn’t cross the finish line. The Italian fell six laps from the finish as he struggled to get into the top ten. In MotoGP, Miguel Oliveira had to throw in the towel on the first day of free practice sessions. Still suffering from his shoulder since his heavy fall at Phillip Island, the Portuguese rider returned to Europe to consult his doctors. “I’m going to see if I have to have surgery as soon as possible to be one hundred percent for the first tests in February,” he said. Despite being on home ground, Hafizh Syahrin failed to score any points. The Malaysian took the chequered flag in sixteenth position behind Mika Kallio.
For his fifth season with the Marc VDS team, Álex Márquez completed his assignment to win the Moto2 World Championship title. The Spaniard will return to the intermediate class next year and try to double the ante, as did Johann Zarco in 2017. In finishing fourth, Xavi Vierge climbed up to fifteenth place in the overall standings and is just four points behind Remy Gardner. Marco Bezzecchi retains his twenty-second place. In MotoGP, despite his withdrawal Oliveira stays in seventeenth place while Hafizh Syahrin is twenty-third.