Johann Zarco became the first rider in Moto2 history to successfully defend the world championship after a masterful ride to victory in Malaysia. The Frenchman rediscovered the form of a champion just when he needed it to see off Franco Morbidelli and Jonas Folger in wet conditions, securing him back-to-back world titles.
The whole complexion of the race was changed while the Moto3 podium ceremony was taking place as the heavens opened, leaving the Sepang circuit drenched for the intermediate class riders. Right from the start though, three riders were a class above the rest as Morbidelli, Zarco and Folger streaked away. Crucially for the championship, this left Thomas Luthi stranded in the second group while Alex Rins was making steady progress from the eighth row of the grid.
The track began to dry rapidly and with conditions starting to resemble qualifying yesterday, Zarco began to repeat his Saturday dominance. On lap fourteen, the Ajo rider breezed past Morbidelli for the lead before proceeding to check out at the front, eventually opening up a three second lead by the chequered flag to clinch the championship in style.
Morbidelli and Folger enjoyed an entertaining tussle for second with the Marc VDS rider prevailing thanks to an error from the German at turn seven. Lorenzo Baldassarri finished fourth at the front of the chase group while home favourite Hafizh Syahrin took a superb fifth.
Thomas Luthi trailed home in sixth, losing any hope of taking the championship to the wire, but with Alex Rins back in fourteenth, the Swiss rider has strengthened his chances of taking the runner-up spot. Alex Marquez followed Luthi home in seventh with Xavi Vierge next up while Luca Marini set the fastest lap on the way to ninth.
Moto2 Shell Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix (Race Result)
|1||5. Johann Zarco||Kalex||Ajo Motorsport||45:51.036||25|
|2||21. Franco Morbidelli||Kalex||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+3.256||20|
|3||94. Jonas Folger||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+3.689||16|
|4||7. Lorenzo Baldassarri||Kalex||Forward Team||+21.428||13|
|5||55. Hafizh Syahrin||Kalex||Petronas Raceline Malaysia||+24.700||11|
|6||12. Thomas Luthi||Kalex||Garage Plus Interwetten||+26.184||10|
|7||73. Alex Marquez||Kalex||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+28.177||9|
|8||97. Xavi Vierge||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+28.855||8|
|9||10. Luca Marini||Kalex||Forward Team||+29.247||7|
|10||32. Isaac Vinales||Tech 3||Tech 3 Racing||+29.969||6|
|11||24. Simone Corsi||Speed Up||Speed Up||+30.866||5|
|12||93. Ramdan Rosli||Kalex||Petronas AHM Malaysia||+31.260||4|
|13||87. Remy Gardner||Kalex||Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2||+31.793||3|
|14||40. Alex Rins||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||+34.697||2|
|15||19. Xavier Simeon||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team||+46.669||1|
|16||2. Jesko Raffin||Kalex||sports-millions-EMWE-SAG||+49.126|
|17||11. Sandro Cortese||Kalex||Dynavolt Intact GP||+49.293|
|18||52. Danny Kent||Kalex||Leopard Racing||+51.610|
|19||57. Edgar Pons||Kalex||Paginas Amarillas HP 40||+54.949|
|20||23. Marcel Schrotter||Kalex||AGR Team||+55.461|
|21||30. Takaaki Nakagami||Kalex||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||+1:08.613|
|22||27. Iker Lecuona||Kalex||CarXpert Interwetten||+1:16.574|
|23||54. Mattia Pasini||Kalex||Italtrans Racing Team||+1:25.838|
|24||14. Ratthapark Wilairot||Kalex||Idemitsu Honda Team Asia||+2:01.635|
|NC||20. Alessandro Nocco||Kalex||Leopard Racing||+7 Laps|
|NC||70. Robin Mulhauser||Kalex||CarXpert Interwetten||+14 Laps|
|NC||49. Axel Pons||Kalex||AGR Team||+18 Laps|
|NC||22. Sam Lowes||Kalex||Federal Oil Gresini Moto2||+18 Laps|
|NQ||60. Julian Simon||Speed Up||QMMF Racing Team|