Oliveira Wins in Malaysia as Morbidelli is Crowned Champion

Two great winners and two exceptional sportsmen

Miguel Oliveira took KTM to their 2nd consecutive victory on Sunday in the Moto2 race, beating teammate Brad Binder to give the Austrian manufacturer their first ever back-to-back 1-2. Franco Morbidelli was crowned champion before the race even got underway, due to Thomas Luthi being ruled out but he still celebrated in style, as he mono-wheeled across the line for 3rd.

The race started and initially, it was Miguel Oliveira who led from Morbidelli and Alex Marquez, with Pecco Bagnaia pushing his way into 4th place. Carnage erupted at the back of the field though, as Andrea Locatelli knocked off Luca Marini who then took down Axel Pons and local hero, Khairul Idham Pawi. Simone Corsi also went ride to avoid disaster. Over at turn 2, Alex Marquez had crashed out, topping a difficult weekend for the Spaniard.

More drama unfolded at turn 6, when Sandro Cortese got his Dynamo Intact GP Suter completely crossed up, ramming the back of Japanese rider, Takaaki Nakagami. Both riders cartwheeled through the gravel trap, with Cortese’s Suter catching fire. Nakagami rode his bike back to the pits and retired from the race. Both Idemitsu Kalex bikes had been innocently taken out in the first half a lap, in what was one of the team’s most important races of the season.

Back at the front, Oliveira had already pulled out an early advantage over Morbidelli, Bagnaia, Brad Binder and local rider, Hafizh Syahrin. Front row starter, Fabio Quartararo, had dropped to 6th but it was the 7th place rider who gained much interest. Up from 17th on the grid, Stefano Manzi had made a sensational start and had got ahead of the likes of Marcel Schrotter and Mattia Pasini.

By the end of lap 8, we saw our first change at the front of the field. Brad Binder forced his way past Francesco Bagnaia for 3rd and kept the position. He then set his sights on Italian, Franco Morbidelli. Further down the field, Xavi Vierge and Mattia Pasini were moving forward, demoting Marcel Schrotter and also Isaac Vinales.

It wasn’t until lap 16 where we saw our 2nd change at the front. Brad Binder moved ahead of Franco Morbidelli, sending KTM into a frenzy in pit lane, as the rookie team now looked like they could be on for yet another 1-2 finish. Back in 4th, the battle was starting to close up, with Bagnaia being hunted down by a resurgent Fabio Quartararo and a hard-changing Matti Pasini. Isaac Vinales had also fought his way back through the field, as he occupied 7th.

As the rain began to fall, Bagnaia was caught, passed and left behind by Fabio Quartararo and Matti Pasini. However, the rain didn’t last and before long, ‘Pecco’ was back ahead and it was Quartararo being dragged back into the clutches of first, Pasini and then, Vinales.

As the rain dissipated, it was Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira who took the win ahead of his South African teammate, Brad Binder. Yet another win for Miguel and another 1-2 for KTM. This is the first time that a manufacturer other than Kalex has won back-to-back races in Moto2 since Suter in 2012, with Marc Marquez at Misano and Brno. Franco Morbidelli came home in 3rd to take his long-awaited Moto2 crown, with Mattia Pasini fighting to 4th.

Image by: MotoGP

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