2018 Sepang Moto2 Race Result: I'd Like to Thank the Academy...

Luca Marini won his first-ever Moto2 race in dominant fashion and Franceso Bagnaia's seized third-place to clinch the Moto2 World Championship Sunday.  Race runner-up Miguel Oliveira's championship bid ended with Bagnaia's podium at the Sepang circuit. 

The Marini win coupled with the Bagnaia championship coincidentally made for good afternoon (at least initially) for MotoGP rider Valentino Rossi; Marini is his half brother and both he and Bagnaia are teammates in Rossi's Moto2 SKY Racing Team VR46 racing team and are graduates of his riders' academy.

Mattia Pasini, who is fighting for a contract next year, grabbed fourth in front of Fabio Quartararo (5th). 

Lorenzo Baldassarri climbed from his 13th place on the grid to finish sixth, holding off pole-sitter Alex Marquez (7th). Marquez, who set the Sepang lap record when he took pole position Saturday couldn't match his previous speed in the race. The winner at Philip Island, Brad Binder (8th), didn't challenge for the win in Sepang. Marcel Schrotter (9th) and rookie Joan Mir completed the top 10.

The Race

Oliveira's sizeable gap to Bagnaia -- 36 points at the start of the contest -- made an outright win nearly a necessity. After a scrum at the first corner that saw Quartararo run wide and Marini slip to the front, Oliveira slid into second. But right on his rear wheel was Bagnaia who swept into second from sixth on the grid. Bagnaia made quick work of his rival to take second a lap later.

Marini opened a one-second gap to second place where Bagnaia had settled comfortably. He had no need to challenge his teammate; a top-three finish would seal the championship for the Italian points leader. In the middle of the pack, Marquez began to push his way through, climbing to fifth after getting swamped at the start. 

But with 10 laps to go, Oliveira made his move to challenge Bagnaia, passing his rival for second. But he could make no impression on Marini who was riding the best race of his career. And Oliveira could do nothing about the man behind him. Bagnaia could hold that position to the end and take the championship. 

Marini and Oliveira began to open a gap to Bagnaia. But with seven laps remaining, Bagnaia began to set some of the fastest laps of the race, keeping his third position well in hand. The top three riders would not change for the remainder of the contest with the VR46 riders achiveiving three firsts: Marini a maiden win; Bagnaia's first championship and the first championship for the team founded by Rossi. 


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 10 Luca MARINI Kalex 38'25.689
2 44 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +1.194
3 42 Francesco BAGNAIA, Moto2 World Champion Kalex +3.020
4 54 Mattia PASINI Kalex +4.497
5 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Speed Up +5.250
6 7 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI Kalex +5.305
7 73 Alex MARQUEZ Kalex +7.690
8 41 Brad BINDER KTM +8.943
9 23 Marcel SCHROTTER Kalex +9.687
10 36 Joan MIR Kalex +18.547
11 97 Xavi VIERGE Kalex +18.816
12 5 Andrea LOCATELLI Kalex +19.739
13 9 Jorge NAVARRO Kalex +21.177
14 77 Dominique AEGERTER KTM +21.960
15 22 Sam LOWES KTM +26.875
16 24 Simone CORSI Kalex +28.515
17 89 Khairul Idham PAWI Kalex +28.802
18 16 Joe ROBERTS NTS +29.791
19 2 Jesko RAFFIN Kalex +30.557
20 57 Edgar PONS Speed Up +31.069
21 4 Steven ODENDAAL NTS +38.430
22 95 Jules DANILO Kalex +42.930
23 30 Dimas EKKY PRATAMA Tech 3 +57.507
24 32 Isaac VIÑALES Suter +57.910
25 21 Federico FULIGNI Kalex +1'03.737
26 50 Rafid Topan SUCIPTO Suter +2'04.066
    Not Classified    
  40 Augusto FERNANDEZ Kalex 10 Laps
  66 Niki TUULI Kalex 11 Laps
  45 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA Kalex 11 Laps
  87 Remy GARDNER Tech 3 13 Laps
  18 Xavi CARDELUS Kalex 13 Laps
  27 Iker LECUONA KTM 16 Laps
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Miguel had to go for broke but Peco was in such a strong position heading into the race, 3rd or tenth was a luxury he could afford. Great day for Sky VR 46. Luca never hooked a cog wrong. Miguel goes to KTM GP and Peco to Pramac GP with Christian Gabarini as his crew chief at Pramac. Smart money would be on Peco carrying momentum next year in GP over Miguel. I'm sort of disappointed with Joan Mir's performance in Moto2. Valencia post race testing will be telling. I do look forward to the 765cc triples.