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Down to two as Moto3™ head to Sepang

Down to two as Moto3™ head to Sepang

The Australian GP threw an unexpected twist into the Moto3™ World Championship, Sepang offers a hope of redemption.

As the Moto3™ riders lined up on the grid in Phillip Island many expected Danny Kent to end the race as Britain’s first World Champion since 1977 but another crash filled Moto3™ race put an end to that hope. With just 10 laps to go Kent and Niccolo Antonelli (Ongetta-Rivacold) made contact, sending the Leopard Racing rider down but Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing Team Moto3) was also involved and fell alongside his championship rival. Meanwhile Miguel Oliveira played his cards perfectly to take victory and keep his championship hopes alive, the entire race shaking the championship to its very core.

The paddock now head to the Shell Malaysian Motorcycle Grand Prix for the final round of the triple-header and for yet another chance to decide the title. Despite his crash, Danny Kent leads the championship with 244 points and needs to leave Sepang with just 25 points more than Oliveira to take the title. With the gap currently at 40 points, Kent needs to finish sixth or better if Oliveira wins the race but as Phillip Island proved, anything can still happen.

Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira has shown incredible form in the last four races with two wins and two second places, recovering well from a mid season dip. Much of his success is also down to KTM’s new chassis and swing arm introduced in Misano, a huge step forward for all the KTM riders. Oliveira’s best result at the circuit is third, achieved in 2013, but the Portuguese rider needs to take his fifth win of the season and hope that Kent once again encounters misfortune.

Unfortunately Bastianini’s championship is now over as he drops to third in the standings due to his third DNF of the season. Overall 2015 has been a strong year for the Italian, able to challenge for a World Championship in just his second season and no doubt his form will see him towards the front once more in 2016. The battle for second in the championship is still on and Bastianini will be giving it his all to recover the silver spot.

With Fabio Quartararo (Estrella Galicia 0,0) set to miss the Malaysian GP due to his injured ankle, teammate Jorge Navarro looks set to end 2015 as Rookie of the Year. During his first full World Championship season Navarro has taken two podiums and five front row starts including pole in Silverstone. As with Bastianini, Navarro has impressed many in 2015 and will no doubt be a title contender in 2016.

The Malaysian GP is also the home round of lightweight class mainstay Zulfahmi Khairuddin and his Drive M7 SIC team. The combination did the majority of their winter testing at the Sepang International Circuit so may have an early edge over the competition. In 2012 Khairuddin astonished local fans with a brilliant ride to second, battling Sandro Cortese for victory till the very end.


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