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6 days ago
By motogp.com

The graduates: can Bagnaia and Oliveira go out with a bang?

It’s the intermediate class swansong for many on the grid, including the newly-crowned reigning Champion – and Moto2™ as we know it

Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was back on the podium in Sepang, and although key rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) finished just ahead of him, the 16 points for second were more than enough for the Italian to wrap up the crown. Teammate Luca Marini also won the race – his maiden Grand Prix victory – making it an incredible day to remember not just for ‘Pecco’ but for the team. It caps off an incredible season, and sets up the perfect swansong in Valencia.

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Pecco the Champion, Marini the victor

Bagnaia has been a serious force to be reckoned with this year, taking control of the standings pretty early and hammering home that advantage in the latter half of the season. So will his final race in see him back on the top step? Or can Oliveira –  last year's winner – or Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up) take another Moto2™ win to also leave for the premier class on a high and another addition to their CVs?

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Moto2™: Three-in-a-row for Oliveira in Valencia

Bagnaia will surely feel the most confident heading into Valencia, but the spring in Marini’s step will likely mirror that of his compatriot; fresh as he is from a maiden win. Meanwhile Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) is looking for more of a bounce back after a tough Malaysian GP, but the South African did wrap up P3 overall in the standings at Sepang. The likes of Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) want to move back towards the front, too – with the German still looking for that maiden win and maiden pole.

Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was another who, like Binder and Schrötter, didn’t get the results he’d wanted on race day last time out. The 2014 Moto3™ World Champion dominated practice and qualifying – half a second clear on pole – but it didn’t become his first win of the year. He has chance to take that in Valencia, however, at a track that holds good memories for him and where he’s racing in front of a home crowd. His teammate will also be doing that and is one who will graduate to the premier class next season. With just two points between them as is stands, can the Rookie of the Year strike for his first – and only – Moto2™ win before he moves up? Or will experience play in Marquez’ favour?

There’s one last race for this era of Moto2™, with more than simply the names changing next year: 2019 sees the debut of Triumph power for the intermediate class. Someone will take the honour of the last win of the year before the next era begins – for man or machine. Find out who from the 16th to 18th November at Valencia.

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