2018 Sepang Moto3 Race Result: A Fabulous Parting Gift

Jorge Martin won the race and the Moto3 World Championship at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia after mid-race battle with championship contender Marco Bezzecchi. Martin, who has 11 pole positions with seven race wins on the years, finished the contest with 240 points, a title-clinching, 26-point lead with one race to go in the 2018 season. It was his final year to claim a Moto3 chapionship; the Spaniard heads to the Moto2 championship next year.

Bezzecchi, who got the holeshot and led the race off-and-on for much of the first 10 laps, needed to finish fourth or higher for the title to remain undecided into final round round in Valencia. But he was swamped by the charging pack on the final lap and finished fifth at the line. Lorenzo Dalla Porta grabbed second after a race-long battle with Bezzecchi. Enea Bastianini took third and in doing so, became the most succesful Moto3 rider in history. Albert Areas who spent the tight contest with the lead pack just beat Bezzecchi to the line for fourth. 

Fabio DiGiannantonio, who before the contest also had distant, mathematical shot at the championship, finished sixth, his title dreams over when teammate Martin won. Daren Binder took seventh, three-tenths in front of Tony Arbolino (8th). Tatsuki Suzuki (9th) and Niccolo Antonelli rounded out the top 10.

The Race

Marco Bezzecchi had little choice but to go out fast. While he didn't need to win to keep the championship alive, he did need to finish high in the order and perhaps force Martin into a mistake. To that end, Bezzecchi got the holeshot into Turn 1 but with Martin right on his tail. Martin didn't seem to have the pace early and began to drop back in the pack, sinking to fourth by the end of the first lap.

And the early trouble continued for Martin. By the end of the next lap, the championship leader had fallen to eighth. At the front, Bezzecchi led but not for much longer. While the championship runner-up had the speed to get to the front, he didn't have the pace to break away. The two long straights at Sepang made that abundantly clear up until the end.

Binder drafted behind Bezzecchi and slingshotted his way to the lead. Bezecchi was dropped to fifth but quickly climbed back into fourth. It was a sequence that would repeat itself until the end of the race with the six leaders trading positions at the end of every straight. Bezecchi would claw his way to the front, only to get swamped by the following pack headed into either Turn 15 or Turn 1.

But with 10 laps to go, Martin found his pace and began ticking off some of the quickest laps of the race. He joined the lead group and swept into fifth. One lap later, he took the lead and almost immediately began to open a gap. Bezzecchi, however, was right on his heels. Aaron Canet slipstreamed the lead pair and swept briefly into the lead. Soon after, Canet crashed out at Turn 1.

With three laps remaining, Martin, who already had retaken the lead, began to open a gap. Bezzecchi made a desperate charge to stay with the race leader. With two laps to go, however, Martin had opened a two-second gap. Bezzecchi started the last lap in second place, good enough to keep his championship hopes alive. But the pack swapmed him mid lap. At the finish line his hopes of a fourth-place were dashed at the line by Arenas. 

Martin became the first Red Bull Rookies Cup Champion to win a Moto 3 championship. 

Result:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 88 Jorge MARTIN, Moto3 World Champion Honda 38'34.799
2 48 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA Honda +3.556
3 33 Enea BASTIANINI Honda +3.757
4 75 Albert ARENAS KTM +3.795
5 12 Marco BEZZECCHI KTM +4.095
6 21 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO Honda +4.106
7 40 Darryn BINDER KTM +4.232
8 14 Tony ARBOLINO Honda +4.704
9 24 Tatsuki SUZUKI Honda +4.707
10 23 Niccolò ANTONELLI Honda +4.715
11 42 Marcos RAMIREZ KTM +4.727
12 27 Kaito TOBA Honda +5.101
13 77 Vicente PEREZ KTM +6.392
14 41 Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAPAT Honda +7.063
15 22 Kazuki MASAKI KTM +7.353
16 16 Andrea MIGNO KTM +7.478
17 76 Makar YURCHENKO Honda +7.626
18 71 Ayumu SASAKI Honda +13.843
19 65 Philipp OETTL KTM +19.992
20 84 Jakub KORNFEIL KTM +26.678
21 81 Stefano NEPA KTM +34.184
22 9 Apiwath WONGTHANANON KTM +34.468
23 7 Adam NORRODIN Honda +1'37.387
    Not Classified    
  44 Aron CANET Honda 7 Laps
  72 Alonso LOPEZ Honda 11 Laps
  17 John MCPHEE KTM 11 Laps
  10 Dennis FOGGIA KTM 11 Laps
  31 Celestino VIETTI KTM 15 Laps
Round Number: 
18
2018
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Total votes: 38

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Comments

First off, a huge shout out to Jorge Martin. What a fantastic champion. Across all classes, I'd rank him my rider of the year. Next year he teams up with Brad Binder on the 765 Triumph powered KTM. The pair of them should produce fireworks. KTM have to step it up smartly in GP1 results wise. The blokes are ambitious. If they see GP1 KTM riders of Zarco and Oliviera's calibre trolling around for 15th spot post Jerez 2019, they may seriously consider fast track to GP1 via minnows like Aprilia and that would be KTM's loss. Inasmuch as Moto3 is concerned, I can't understand for the love of mike why Ducati don't contest the series with a 250 Desmo single. Run 4 bikes and set up their own conveyor belt of feeder tallent to GP1 as HRC and Yamaha have done for decades rather than poach proven tallent from HRC and Yamaha as has been their wont for nigh on two decades. Rossi has done it with his Sky VR46 outfit. He ditched Peco or Peco ditched him at some stage, I dunno. He ditched Fenati at one point in Moto3. The point is, Ducati need to get involved in Moto3, 250cc singles. Just got home on my 2012 carbie XT 250 Yamaha, same bore and stroke as my ancient Ducati 500 Pantah. What's that got to do with it? Nothing actually except this...The foundation of GP expertise technically is bottom up rather than top down and it applies to racer's too. Rossi started in 125. Good on KTM for their Moto 3 effort. Way more manufacturer's need to get involved in Moto 3. Mahindra did pretty damn good at one stage.

Total votes: 0

We got from KL and dropped off for start of WUP, deserted in the MM grandstand until about midway through the Moto2 race and then it just went ballistic! Talk about the Asian crowds being exited, it was brilliant to see, all in one supporters uniform or another, all very happy to be there, even though they jammed all the stairwells up and stood at the front, so the ones of us that had been there 4-5 hours then couldn’t see-I did have a good natured chat with an immaculately dressed security guard (he not sweating, me melting..), and I did remind him if there was any kind of emergency there was no access. He just nodded and smiled and wished me a nice day!! TBH, I don’t know how many of the locals saw who won what, many around us were so obsessed with taking and posting selfies of EVERYTHING, to the point that the ones close by us definitely were only a little aware of events- the girl next to me had no idea Rossi had crashed until a good 10 minutes after the race when she asked her mate! Still, a brilliant experience, despite the wheels coming off our transportation plan at the end, getting stuck at the Petronas station over the road for two hours, getting back to KL around 6pm, good job it was early start! Only being at the Sama Sama hotel at the airport 3-4 miles away means you may need to get up earlier in future Apical 🤠😂 !!

Total votes: 4