News 24 Oct 2022

Bagnaia takes one step closer following Sepang MotoGP victory

Advantage at 23 points entering Valencia's final round in two weeks.

Image: Supplied.

Ducati Lenovo Team’s Francesco Bagnaia has one hand on the 2022 MotoGP World Championship trophy following an intense victory at the Malaysian GP, as Tony Arbolino emerged on top of Moto2 and John McPhee delivered a Moto3 masterpiece.

Bagnaia shot from P9 nine on the grid to quickly be in contention at the front of the field, trading blows with Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing) on occasion as ‘The Beast’ trailed the number 63 very closely while behind.

In the end, Bastianini never landed an overly aggressive move on his fellow Ducati rider and crossed the lineĀ  P2, 0.270s from victory as Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) held onto a vital third to keep his title hopes alive.

Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Racing Team) impressed once more in fourth, ahead of Phillip Island winner Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) and Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) who recovered from as low as P21 on the opening lap to take the chequered flag P6.

Eight-time world champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was seventh, ahead of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing), Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) who completed the top 10 and is no longer in championship contention.

Notably, pole-setter Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) crashed out of the lead on lap seven, as Australian Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM Factory Racing) completed the bout in 18th, 33.691s from the lead.

Bagnaia leads by 23 points entering the finale at Valencia, meaning for Quartararo to defend his title the number 20 will have to win and the Italian would need to fail to score.

Image: Supplied.

Arbolino (Elf Marc VDS Racing Team) took his third Moto2 victory of the season at Sepang as disaster struck title-contender Ai Ogura (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) on the last lap.

Ogura fell at turn nine while trying to make a move for the lead, leaving the number 14 to ride to a 11.411s victory ahead of Alonso Lopez (Beta Tools Speed Up) and Jake Dixon (Inde GasGas Aspar Team).

Courtesy of Ogura’s DNF, a fourth place for Augusto Fernandez was enough to see the Red Bull KTM Ajo rider reclaim the points lead, with his advantage 9.5 over the Japanese talent entering the final round.

Image: Supplied.

From 22nd on the grid, McPhee delivered a Malaysian masterpiece to narrowly edge Sterilgarda Husqvarna Max teammate Ayumu Sasaki to victory at Sepang, as Sergio Garcia (Gaviota GasGas Aspar Team) completed the top three in what was a thrilling encounter.

Notably, freshly crowned Moto3 world champion Izan Guevara (Gaviota GasGas Aspar Team) finished P12 after having to take evasive action to avoid Sasaki which dropped him down the order. Australia’s Joel Kelso completed the bout in P18.

The 2022 Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup (IATC) was also on track at Sepang, with Carter Thompson taking the victory in race one. Unfortunately, the Australian was unable to finish the second outing, as compatriots Cameron Swain and Marianos Nikolis were brought down in an opening lap crash. Nikolis finished P6 in the opening encounter, Swain P17.

Detailed results