Miguel Oliveira displayed his astonishing calmness under pressure once again to win the Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, ensuring the Moto3 title race will go down to the wire. The Portuguese rider led home teammate Brad Binder while a cautious Danny Kent finished seventh, leaving him two points away short of his championship target.
Requiring a top five finish to seal the title with a race to spare, Kent displayed caution in the opening laps and even fell out of the points at one stage. As the pace picked up, the Briton quietly moved up the order although the Leopard team were given a fright on lap six when Efren Vazquez and Hiroki Ono, Kent’s teammates, collided at turn two.
Further incidents involving Zulfahmi Khairuddin and Francesco Bagnaia promoted Kent to seventh and with a couple of laps remaining, the British rider was in the thick of the leading group. A dive up the inside of Niccolo Antonelli moved him up to fifth but the turn nine hairpin would cost him on the last lap, Kent caught between the polesitter and Romano Fenati, and the moment of hesitation dropped him to seventh where he would ultimately finish.
With Kent scoring nine points, only a victory would keep Oliveira’s championship hopes alive but once again, the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider judged his tactics perfectly to outdrag teammate Brad Binder on the approach to the final corner and hold on to the finish line. Jorge Navarro took another podium finish in third with Antonelli and Fenati taking fourth and fifth respectively.
Jakub Kornfeil completed the top six for the Sepang-based Drive M7 squad, keeping Kent back in seventh, while Enea Bastianini had to settle for eighth after being held up in the Leopard tangle early on. The top ten was rounded out by the two Saxoprint-RTG Hondas with Alexis Masbou ninth and a pain-stricken John McPhee in tenth.
MOTO3 SHELL MALAYSIA MOTORCYCLE GRAND PRIX – RACE RESULT
|1||44. Miguel Oliveira||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||40:33.277|
|2||41. Brad Binder||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+0.089|
|3||9. Jorge Navarro||Honda||Estrella Galicia 0,0||+0.273|
|4||23. Niccolo Antonelli||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+0.305|
|5||5. Romano Fenati||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+0.416|
|6||84. Jakub Kornfeil||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+0.530|
|7||52. Danny Kent||Honda||Leopard Racing||+0.590|
|8||33. Enea Bastianini||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||+4.004|
|9||10. Alexis Masbou||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||+6.990|
|10||17. John McPhee||Honda||Saxoprint-RTG||+10.030|
|11||95. Jules Danilo||Honda||Ongetta-Rivacold||+16.128|
|12||88. Jorge Martin||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||+18.995|
|13||29. Stefano Manzi||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||+18.999|
|14||32. Isaac Vinales||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+19.129|
|15||65. Philipp Oettl||KTM||Schedl GP Racing||+19.153|
|16||48. Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||+19.592|
|17||21. Francesco Bagnaia||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||+32.053|
|18||6. Maria Herrera||Husqvarna||Husqvarna Factory Laglisse||+32.882|
|19||11. Livio Loi||Honda||RW Racing GP||+32.924|
|20||58. Juanfran Guevara||Mahindra||Mapfre Mahindra Team||+33.307|
|21||24. Tatsuki Suzuki||Mahindra||CIP||+34.453|
|22||2. Remy Gardner||Mahindra||CIP||+55.705|
|23||22. Ana Carrasco||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+57.562|
|24||16. Andrea Migno||KTM||Sky Racing Team VR46||+1:46.290|
|25||91. Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||RBA Racing Team||+1 Lap|
|NC||98. Karel Hanika||KTM||Red Bull KTM Ajo||+12 Laps|
|NC||96. Manuel Pagliani||Mahindra||San Carlo Team Italia||+12 Laps|
|NC||7. Efren Vazquez||Honda||Leopard Racing||+13 Laps|
|NC||76. Hiroki Ono||Honda||Leopard Racing||+13 Laps|
|NC||63. Zulfahmi Khairuddin||KTM||Drive M7 SIC Racing Team||+13 Laps|
|NC||40. Darryn Binder||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||+16 Laps|
|NS||19. Alessandro Tonucci||Mahindra||Outox Reset Drink Team||Injured|
|NS||55. Andrea Locatelli||Honda||Junior Team Gresini Moto3||Injured|