Moto3™: the squabble for second heats up at Sepang

Dalla Porta arrives as the reigning Champion, with the pressure shifting to those on his heels

Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) has already ticked the box for 2019 as the Italian wrapped up the Championship in style at Phillip Island, so he arrives at Sepang International Circuit with the pressure off. But the pressure in the fight for second is only ramping up, with Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team) now only 14 points ahead of Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) and 18 clear of Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing). Even John McPhee (Petronas Yamaha SRT) in fifth retains a long shot at taking second this season, so what will happen at Sepang?

One thing's probably for sure: slipstreaming. Moto3™ are the masters of it and Sepang provides one of the best opportunities of the season to unleash that to full effect. The final corner, with its camber and different lines, is also an extra challenge for the lightweight class, and could conceivably decide an awful lot of the season's final standings. There are 50 points left on the table, but half of them are in play on Sunday...

McPhee will certainly want to be taking the first 25. There may be no Malaysians on the grid in Moto3™, but there's a home team: Petronas Sprinta Racing, and he'll want to fly that flag. So will teammate Ayumu Sasaki, who took one of his best finishes of the season so far last time out and has had the pace but not the luck. With the fans behind them, they could be a formidable force.

In a competitive field with a lot on the line, can they make it some home glory this weekend? We'll find out, and the likes of Dalla Porta, Arbolino, Canet, Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse) and teammate Tatsuki Suzuki will be doing their utmost to stop them. Tune in for Moto3™ this weekend at 12:00 (GMT +8) as the penultimate showdown of the season heats up.