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12 days ago
By motogp.com

Morbidelli and Nakagami look to bow out of Moto2™ on a high

Next year’s MotoGP™ graduates ready for a final showdown in the intermediate class – with plenty of competition in the way

After wrapping up the title in Malaysia even ahead of the race after key rival Tom Lüthi (CarXpert Interwetten) was declared unfit, Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) is now gearing up for graduation to MotoGP™ and has one last intermediate class chance to win. Lüthi won’t be present ahead of his move, replaced by Ricky Cardus, but there will be two more names looking to make a last mark: Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda) and Xavier Simeon (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2).

Morbidelli will want to win, as will Nakagami. Simeon is coming back from injury and will aim as high as possible. But after the last two races have been dominated by Red Bull KTM Ajo, Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder could be about to spoil the party once more and end the season with three highs in a row.

Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) is another big consideration at the front, having won both races on Spanish soil that he’s contested injury-free. Added to a stunner in the wet at Motegi, it has been a good year for the 2014 Moto3™ World Champion and he will want to bounce back after a crash in Malaysia to get as close as he can to Oliveira in the points. More home heroes like Xavi Vierge (Tech 3 Racing) and local man Jorge Navarro (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) are gunning for the same glory, too, and Navarro returns from injury. His fellow rookie and Rookie of the Year Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) is another to watch – always a dark horse to make a serious dent at the front.

As well as the usual cast of close-fighting rivals in the class, there’s also the addition of Eric Granado (Promoracing) – the European Moto2™ Championship leader in the FIM CEV Repsol and full-time rider at world level next season – and Jake Dixon (Dynavolt Intact GP), who wildcards. More interesting battles throughout the field are assured, as well as the customary fight at the front after a stunning 2017 season – with Morbidelli and Nakagami wanting to bow out on a high.

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