Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport Kalex) was MotoGP’s final champion of 2016 to be crowned, the Frenchman winning the Honda-powered Moto2 World Championship with a dominant victory at Sepang. This was his sixth win of the year but his first since August’s Austrian Grand Prix. In the next few races Zarco appeared to lose form and saw a 34-point lead shrink to just one point after September’s Aragon race.

The man on the charge at that point was Alex Rins (Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex), who seemed to have the necessary momentum to win the title. But then it was Rins’s turn to enter the doldrums. Rins scored just two points from the next three races, allowing Zarco to secure the title. Zarco is the first rider to successfully defend a Moto2 crown since the class – in which all riders use identically prepared CBR600 engines – was inaugurated in 2010.

Rins’ below-par results at recent races, combined with a late-season surge by Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex) have pushed the Spaniard down to third. Luthi scored the first back-to-back wins of his career with victories in Japan and Australia. The Swiss rider comes to Valencia holding a 14-point lead over Rins, making him favourite for the runner-up spot, which would be his best championship result since he won the 125cc world title in 2005.

Indeed Rins could slip to fourth overall at Valencia, because young Italian Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0.0 Marc VDS Kalex) has also found excellent form, with podium results at each of the last four races, including strong rides to second place in Australia (where he missed a first win by 0.01 seconds) and Malaysia.

Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex) was a title contender in the early stages of the season but a series of tumbles have dropped him to fifth overall, with Jonas Folger (Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex) and Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) now just three points behind him. The current top ten is completed by San Marino winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Forward Team Kalex), Hafizh Syahrin (Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex) and Simone Corsi (Speed Up Speed Up).

Johann Zarco

Johann Zarco 5

“We won the title at Sepang and we will be aiming to celebrate with the best way possible – with a final Moto2 win at Valencia, before I move up to MotoGP. It has been a long and very emotional season. We were going great and then we had a few problems and very nearly lost the championship lead, so I feel proud and want to say a big thank you to my team for coming back from those problems. I know we can be fast this weekend, so as usual we will give our all and work hard. It’s great that we’ve already won the title but it’s not time to relax yet – we still have one more Moto2 fight left!”

Ajo Motorsport
Thomas Luthi

Thomas Luthi 12

“Johann won the championship and he did a good job but we didn’t lose it there. We lost it earlier in the season. It was a good overseas trip and we now go to Valencia. Even though Zarco is World Champion we still have to try and finish ahead of Rins. We made some points on him in Malaysia and it’s good to still be in second position in the championship. That’s the target now, to stay there, and stay ahead of Rins and Morbidelli. Morbidelli is strong at the moment and Rins will be back again. He’ll be racing at home again in Valencia. I like the track. I had some positive races there in the past. I’m looking forward to going there.”

Garage Plus Interwetten
Alex Rins

Alex Rins 40

“Me and the team go to Valencia aiming to score a great result to finish my fantastic experience with them in the best possible way. This has been another tough season, with some highs and lows, just like most years. The good thing is that we were in the fight for the world title for most of the season, but in the end it didn’t quite work out for us. I’m looking forwarding to enjoying my last Moto2 race with the Spanish fans. I’ve been on the podium at Valencia in both Moto2 and Moto3 but I’ve yet to win a GP race there, so it’s my aim to fix that this weekend!”

Paginas Amarillas HP 40
Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana

Comunitat Valenciana, Spain

Moto2 2016, Round 18

Rider Standings
Sunday, 30 Oct 2016 - Open world standings grid
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Johann ZARCO 5 FRA 251 Ajo Motorsport Kalex
2 Thomas LUTHI 12 SWI 214 Garage Plus Interwetten Kalex
3 Alex RINS 40 SPA 203 Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex
4 Franco MORBIDELLI 21 ITA 197 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex
5 Sam LOWES 22 GBR 162 Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex
6 Jonas FOLGER 94 GER 159 Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex
7 Takaaki NAKAGAMI 30 JPN 159 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex
8 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI 7 ITA 125 Forward Racing Kalex
9 Hafizh SYAHRIN 55 THA 117 Petronas Raceline Malaysia Kalex
10 Simone CORSI 24 ITA 98 Speed Up Racing Speed Up
11 Dominique AEGERTER 77 SWI 71 CarXpert Interwetten Kalex
12 Alex MARQUEZ 73 SPA 69 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex
13 Mattia PASINI 54 ITA 63 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
14 Sandro CORTESE 11 GER 61 Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex
15 Marcel SCHROTTER 23 GER 58 AGR Team Kalex
16 Axel PONS 49 SPA 55 AGR Team Kalex
17 Xavier SIMEON 19 BEL 46 QMMF Racing Team Speed Up
18 Julian SIMON 60 SPA 40 QMMF Racing Team Speed Up
19 Luis SALOM 39 SPA 37 SAG Team Kalex
20 Luca MARINI 10 ITA 34 Forward Racing Kalex
21 Xavi VIERGE 97 SPA 33 Tech 3 Racing Tech 3
22 Miguel OLIVEIRA 44 POR 33 Leopard Racing Kalex
23 Danny KENT 52 GBR 28 Leopard Racing Kalex
24 Isaac VIñALES 32 SPA 19 Tech 3 Racing Tech 3
25 Jesko RAFFIN 2 SWI 14 Sports-Millions-EMWE-SAG Kalex
26 Remy GARDNER 87 AUS 8 Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex
27 Anthony WEST 95 AUS 6 Montaze Broz Racing Team Suter
28 Ratthapark WILAIROT 14 THA 6 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex
29 Ramdan ROSLI 93 MAL 4 Petronas AHM Malaysia Kalex
30 Robin MULHAUSER 70 SWI 4 CarXpert Interwetten Kalex
31 Edgar PONS 57 SPA 4 Paginas Amarillas HP 40 Kalex
32 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA 45 JPN 2 Ajo Motorsport Kalex