Results and summary of a tense Moto3 race at Sepang:
Miguel Oliveira has kept his title hopes alive by taking his fifth win of the season at Sepang, after controlling the race at the front of a small group. Oliveira's win was exactly what he needed to keep Kent from taking the title, the Englishman ending the race in 7th, two places short of the spot he needed to clinch the title.
Oliveira got the drop from the start, hammering into Turn 1 in the lead, and pushing to try to make a gap. Kent, by contrast, got a terrible start, losing places on the run to the line, then getting duffed up in battle in the two extremely tight first two corners. A group formed at the front of the race, Oliveira always right at the front of it, containing Pecco Bagnaia, Romano Fenati, Jorge Navarro, Jakub Kornfeil, John McPhee, Hiroki Ono, Efren Vazquez and Brad Binder. Enea Bastianini lost touch with the front, while Kent struggled battling for 14th place.
A fierce battle developed in the front group, which would last all the way to the line. Oliveira was always involved, leading for a lot of the race, and inside the top three when he got passed down the front or back straight. The battle gave Danny Kent the time to collect his wits and ease his way cautiously forward, eventually landing on the tail of the group after getting some empty track and the chance to set his own pace.
Once he reached the group, he was unwittingly helped by his Leopard Racing teammmates, Ono and Vazquez touching and going down together. That created a gap behind Kent, leaving him free to concentrate on sticking with the group. More attrition came later, Bagnaia sliding out at Turn 15 after challenging all race long for the lead.
While Kent sat patiently on the back of the group, his eyes clearly on 5th spot, the place he needed if he was to be crowned champion, the battle intensified at the front. With Bagnaia gone, Binder and Navarro came on strong, though Oliveira was still clearly in control. On the final lap, Oliveira lost the lead to his teammate in the first part of the lap, but that proved to be the right place to be. As they headed down the long back straight, Oliveira whipped out of the slipstream to take the lead into the final corner, and held on across the line. Binder finished in 2nd, while Jorge Navarro took his third podium of the year in 3rd.
Danny Kent's cautiousness worked against him in the final lap. Trying to make sure he did not get taken out by the group of seven battling for the win, he entered the last lap in 5th position, but he got bumped down to 6th at Turn 9, the lost another place in the battle at the final corner. His lead over Oliveira is now 24 points. He needs to finish in 14th at Valencia to be sure of the crown.
|16||48||Lorenzo Dalla Porta||Husqvarna||19.592|
|25||91||Gabriel Rodrigo||KTM||1 Lap|
|98||Karel Hanika||KTM||12 Laps|
|96||Manuel Pagliani||Mahindra||12 Laps|
|7||Efren Vazquez||Honda||13 Laps|
|76||Hiroki Ono||Honda||13 Laps|
|63||Zulfahmi Khairuddin||KTM||13 Laps|
|40||Darryn Binder||Mahindra||16 Laps|