Miguel Oliveira put KTM on top once again at Sepang
Another KTM 1-2 in Malaysia as Binder takes second – and the new World Champion completes the podium.
Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took back-to-back wins for the first time in Moto2 with a stunning demolition job at Sepang International Circuit, over five seconds clear at one point and putting in a faultless ride to the flag despite the late threat of rain.
Rookie teammate Brad Binder made it another 1-2 for the Austrian factory as he took his second Moto2 podium in second, able to get past new Moto2 World Champion Franco Morbidelli in the latter stages. The number 21 – who has led the standings all year – completed the rostrum.
Earlier in the day it was announced that key title rival Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) had been declared unfit to race, so Morbidelli’s 29 point advantage going into the Malaysian GP was enough to secure the crown. But celebrations waited until after the flag, when the customary number one was stuck to the front of Morbidelli’s EG 0,0 Marc VDS machine on the way back to parc ferme.
Behind the fastest three in front, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) made a late charge to take advantage of the late rain flags and make it into fourth, three tenths ahead of Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) after the Rookie of the Year initially mounted a podium challenge then completed the top five. It was an even closer finish for sixth, with local hero Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia) just catching and getting the better of front row starter Fabio Quartararo (Pons HP 40) by 0.078 seconds.
Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) and Isaac Viñales (BE-A-VIP SAG Team) were two more close finishers, just 0.068 apart in P8 and P9 respectively. Tetsuta Nagashima (Teluru SAG Team) completed the top ten after a solid ride for his best finish so far.
Simone Corsi and Augusto Fernandez (Speed Up), Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Iker Lecuona and Jesko Raffin (Garage Plus Interwetten) completed the points scorers – with a number of high profile DNFs in the race, including one for Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).
Now the title is wrapped up and a little more history has been made, it’s back to European soil for the final circus of the season in Valencia.
Miguel Oliveira – P1
“Today I had to give everything, I can hardly speak. This was not the strategy I had in mind before we started, as Franco (Morbidelli) and Brad (Binder) had a very good pace, so my plan was to ride behind them. But I saw that I could give a little more on the first few laps and I went for it. I gave everything I had and I am very proud to have succeeded. At the beginning of the season I did not imagine that we would be able to achieve these results. I thought we would be competitive but not that we would do so well. We deserve this end to the season.”
Brad Binder – P2
“At first, during the opening three or four laps, I didn’t feel too comfortable. But little by little I felt stronger as the race progressed; my bike was amazing and I have to thank my team for that. When I saw that it was beginning to rain, I told myself that I had to give everything and get away from Franco (Morbidelli). To finish second is incredible: I want to thank my team again for all the effort they’ve put in, and I’m looking forward to Valencia.”
Aki Ajo – KTM Team Manager Moto2
“The Moto2 race was incredible. I don’t know what to say. I don’t think I can even believe it; it is much more than we could have imagined. We are already very motivated to do well in the future, but this result is an extra bonus. This is a long-term project to fight for the World Championship one day, and this is without a doubt the way forward. Again, I want to thank personally and on behalf of the team, the great partners who support us like Red Bull, KTM, and all the partners for letting us be part of this great project. I also want to thank the riders, Miguel (Oliveira) and Brad (Binder). They are just incredible.”
Arriving at the Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia after another point scoring ride, Remy Gardner was optimistic of adding to his Moto2 World Championship points tally in today’s penultimate round of the series.
A solid start to the weekend during the Free Practice sessions re-affirmed Remy’s intentions, and despite only qualifying 25th, the #87 Tech3 Mistral rider was focused on making a good start and charging through the field.
With the threat of rain subsiding, Remy made the perfect start, passing 11 of his rivals on lap one, starting lap two in 13th position.
Rapidly closing in on the battle for 10th, Gardner slid out of contention at turn 9 and was unable to remount, halting his impressive Malaysian race pace.
Despite the DNF, Remy once again proved his ability to ‘race’, and is already looking ahead to the season finale at Valencia in a fortnight.
“We worked well all weekend and even though it didn’t come together in qualifying I was really confident of a good race today. I made an almost perfect start, passing almost a dozen riders in the first ten corners. Everything was looking good, until I underestimated how slow the next rider in front of me was. I think he knew I was behind him before he turned in, yet he chopped my nose, we touched and then I fell. It was really unlucky but that’s racing, what else can I say. I’m sorry we both went down and I am sorry that the team didn’t get both bikes in the top ten which I think was possible today. There’s one race left and I will be giving 100% to end the season in the points before the hard work begins for 2018!”
Remy is currently sitting in 20th position overall in the 2017 Moto2 World Championship with one round remaining.
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