Morbidelli and Márquez in superb form at Sepang
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS rider Franco Morbidelli mastered treacherous conditions to finish a superb second in today’s Malaysian Grand Prix.
It was the fourth time this season Morbidelli has finished runner-up in a World Championship Moto2 race and a victory cannot be far away for the 21-year-old Italian.
Morbidelli’s rich vein of form began with his third place at Assen in June and he has now been on the podium seven times in the ten races since the Dutch TT.
Starting from second on the front row Morbidelli led the way for 13 laps in tricky conditions before Frenchman Johann Zarco made a slick move at turn four to win the 19-lap race. In doing so Zarco secured a second consecutive Moto2 World Championship.
In the closing stages Morbidelli was engaged by Jonas Folger in a tense fight for second but the hard riding Italian was up for the challenge to hold the position.
The race at the Sepang International Circuit started on a wet track in drizzling rain but with eight laps remaining the sun was out with riders on rain tyres on a drying track.
In blinding spray from 21st on the grid Álex Márquez made a dynamic start and staged a brave surge through the traffic to 12th on lap one. The Spanish star made some robust overtakes and got up to fifth on lap eight in a tight contest with Hafizh Syahrin, Lorenzo Baldassarri, Thomas Lüthi and Xavier Simeon before dropping to seventh at the finish.
In the championship standings Morbidelli is fourth on 197 points, just six points behind Álex Rins in the battle for third as he heads to the final race at Valencia.
Franco Morbidelli: 2nd
“I struggled a little to understand that with the championship already done why Johann kept pushing in second place but it was a nice race and congratulations to him for winning the championship. I was very fast in the wet conditions but when the track started to dry out I could not keep the same pace with Johann but I was able to hold second with is great for me and the team. I go to Valencia with a good feeling for the final race and to aim for third position in the championship.”
Álex Márquez: 7th
“I am happy because I made a really good race from so far back on the grid, I took a lot of risks on lap one after I made the best start of my Moto2 career. I got to fifth place but with the drying track and having pushed my tyres I was seventh at the end. It is a good result considering the problems in qualifying and I’m back riding at my best. Now we have a short break before the final race in Valencia, I’m motivated for a strong finish to the season.”
Michael Bartholemy: Team Principal
“This was a really good race for both Franco and Álex. I knew that as the track dried out that Johann Zarco had a little more pace than Franco but he was faster than all the others to get another deserving podium. This is a boost for the team and it is nice to return to Europe with a bundle of points and now Franco can challenge for third in the championship in Valencia. Álex had a difficult starting position after a wrong tyre choice in qualifying but he had some great battles in a five-rider group that was a little scary. It was a good race by Álex. My congratulations to Johann Zarco for his second Moto2 World Championship.”