Jorge Martin is crowned 2018 world champion after a stunning victory in Sepang.
Martin and Marco Bezzecchi looked to be taking the championship down to the wire before Bezzecchi dropped back into fifth-position and out of the championship running but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the Madrid born rider.
Martin made a quick getaway as the lights went out but Bezzecchi soon chased him down to take the lead as third-place man Tony Arbolino dropped a couple of positions to fifth.
During lap four, an ever aggressive Darryn Binder raised some blood pressures in the KTM home base as he nearly wiped out the front wheel of Bezzecchi at turn-one, pushing him wide and causing him to drop down the grid. The Italian then had a near miss with fellow countryman Arbolino as the pair made contact during lap six but thankfully, both remained upright.
Title rivals Bezzecchi and Martin fought gloriously for the lead, chopping and changing the lead position and making contact whilst they were at it. The pair was joined by Estrella Galicia rider Aron Canet who briefly took the lead during lap 11 but crashed out at turn one.
As the laps ticked down, Martin clawed his way back to the front and started to build a nice little gap between himself and Dalla Porta and Bezzecchi who were fighting for second position. With only two laps remaining, Martin had built a comfortable lead whilst Bezzecchi dropped down the order and out of the top four.
As the chequered flag was waved, Martin was completely unaware his championship rival was sitting in fifth-position and therefore the battle was won.
It may have taken a few moments for the Spaniard to realise what exactly had happened but once he did, he was visibly overcome with emotions as he was seen openly weeping with delight.
The newly crowned world champion was joined on the podium by the Leopard Racing pair Lorenzo Dalla Porta and Enea Bastianini in second and third respectively whilst AustralianGP winner Albert Arenas claimed fourth-position.
Unfortunately, it was heartbreak elsewhere as a devastated and defeated looking Bezzecchi was consoled by mentor Valentino Rossi and Moto2 championship contender Pecco Bagnaia.
Del Conca Gresini rider Fabio Di Giannantonio watched his championship hopes fade into oblivion as he ended in sixth. However, there is a small chance the Italian could take second-position in the championship to make it a Gresini one-two in Valencia.
Binder brought his KTM machine home in seventh-position ahead of Arbolino in eight-position whilst Tatsuki Suzuki and Niccolò Antonelli round out the top ten in ninth and tenth respectively.
AustralianGP third-place man Celestino Vietti was once again fighting in the top group and in podium contention before the young Italian ran wide at turn nine and lost the front end. Unfortunately, he was not the only non-finisher as an incident involving John McPhee, Alonso Lopez and Dennis Foggia saw the trio lying in the gravel at turn nine. Judging by the reaction from the fiery Scotsman, the incident was down to Foggia.
Homeman Adam Norrodin was forced to start from the pitlane after a penalty in qualifying for irresponsible riding. The home hero clawed his way back into the top 10, running in seventh at one point but it wasn’t meant to be and Norrodin crashed with only two laps remaining. Jakub Kornfeil was the last of the crashers with a tumble at turn 15 saw the Czech rider end the day in the gravel.
Full results here.
The championship may be wrapped up for another year but Martin and Bezzecchi have certainly given it their absolute all to fight this valiantly and push each other constantly. The season isn’t over though as we will move into the final race in Valencia in two weeks time.