Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) won a tense Moto2 race, his first-ever Grand Prix victory, two places ahead of team-mate Francesco ‘Pecco’ Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex), who secured the 2018 Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 World Championship with the Valencia season finale still to go. Bagnaia’s first crown is well deserved: he has won eight races to the two wins achieved by title runner-up Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM).

Twenty-year-old Marini – half-brother of Valentino Rossi – led the race from start to finish, resisting relentless pressure from Oliveira, who was the only rider with any chance of keeping Bagnaia from winning the championship.

Marini, who only scored his first Grand Prix podium at Assen in July, had to keep pushing all the way, especially after Oliveira had taken second place from Bagnaia just before half-distance. Twenty-three-year-old Oliveira dearly wanted to win today’s race, because he knew Bagnaia was likely to secure the title. However, although he closed the gap to Marini to just three tenths of a second, he was never able to get closer as his younger rival responded superbly to the pressure.

At the chequered flag Marini was 1.194 seconds ahead of Oliveira, with Bagnaia three seconds behind his team-mate, for a double team celebration on the podium. During the closing stages Bagnaia was chased by Argentine GP winner Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex).

Fifth-place went to the hard-fighting Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up), who came back from ninth place in the early stages. His last victim was Spanish GP winner Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40 Kalex).

Pole-position man Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) had a horrible first lap, which left him down in ninth place, and with a lot of work to do. He crossed the line in seventh, comfortably clear of Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), who won last Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix and today made sure of third place in the World Championship. Binder just beat Marcel Schrotter (Dynavolt Intact GP Suter) past the chequered flag. Top rookie Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex) completed the top ten.

Luca Marini

Luca Marini 10

1st

“What a race for the whole team and what a victory! It was hard: I started immediately strong to try to stay ahead and breathe with these temperatures. I pushed because, after the warm up, I knew I was one of the strongest. I had a great feeling with the bike, I knew how to handle the tire and the physical effort. I was happy with the feeling with the bike, I tried to give 100 percent to put some space, but Miguel did not give up until the end. It is my first victory in the World Championship, a special day to share with the team, the Academy, all those who have always supported me and Pecco who has done something incredible.”

SKY Racing Team VR46
Miguel Oliveira

Miguel Oliveira 44

2nd

“This was a Grand Prix in which we went very well. From the beginning I felt good, but Pecco [Bagnaia] was also strong; I was able to pass him and I went after Marini. Finally I couldn’t get close enough to overtake him. It was a very hard fought race. I’m very proud of the efforts I have made this year, of my riding, my season and our perseverance, although unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to beat Bagnaia. Pecco has been very strong and we have both been very consistent. We have battled with everything we had, my team has done a great job and I have also given 110%. Overall, it has been a season full of emotions that we want to finish with a victory in Valencia.”

Red Bull KTM Ajo
Francesco Bagnaia

Francesco Bagnaia 42

3rd

“It is difficult to find the right words: we are World Champions. A unique, incredible emotion. I arrived here with a lot of pressure, I knew I could win the Championship and tried not to think of it. Then yesterday, after qualifying, something has changed. Everything started to become real. After the pre-season, I understood that we had the potential to fight for the title, but now it's different, we are World Champions after a record year with eight wins, poles and a great job from everyone. The list of people to thank is endless: Vale, Uccio and the whole Academy, Elena and Sky, my family, my sister and my girlfriend. Pablo and Idalio who were fundamental on and off the track. Then my team: David, Sergio, Peru, Carletto and Leo. It is everyone's victory. The last ten laps was very hard, then the penultimate lap I started to cry and shout inside the helmet. A difficult race and Luca was great. He deserves it because he was close to the fastest all the weekend and one of the most competitive during the season.”

SKY Racing Team VR46
Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix

Sepang International Circuit, Malaysia

Moto2 2018, Round 18

Sunday 4 Nov 2018, 09:06 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Luca Marini 10 ITA 25 SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex 38'25.689
2 Miguel Oliveira 44 POR 20 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM +1.194
3 Francesco Bagnaia 42 ITA 16 SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex +3.020
4 Mattia Pasini 54 ITA 13 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +4.497
5 Fabio Quartararo 20 FRA 11 Beta Tools – Speed Up Racing Speed Up +5.250
6 Lorenzo Baldassarri 7 ITA 10 Pons HP40 Kalex +5.305
7 Alex Marquez 73 SPA 9 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex +7.690
8 Brad Binder 41 RSA 8 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM +8.943
9 Marcel Schrotter 23 GER 7 Dynavolt Intact GP Suter +9.687
10 Joan Mir 36 SPA 6 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex +18.547
11 Xavi Vierge 97 SPA 5 Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex +18.816
12 Andrea Locatelli 5 ITA 4 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex +19.739
13 Jorge Navarro 9 SPA 3 Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex +21.177
14 Dominique Aegerter 77 SWI 2 Kiefer Racing KTM +21.960
15 Sam Lowes 22 GBR 1 Swiss Innovative Investors KTM +26.875
16 Simone Corsi 24 ITA 0 Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex +28.515
17 Khairul Idham Pawi 89 MAL 0 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex +28.802
18 Joe Roberts 16 USA 0 NTS RW Racing GP NTS +29.791
19 Jesko Raffin 2 SWI 0 Temporary Lavorint SAG Team Kalex +30.557
20 Edgar Pons 57 SPA 0 AGR Team Kalex +31.069
Rider Standings
Sunday, 4 Nov 2018 - Open world standings grid
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Francesco BAGNAIA 42 ITA 299 SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex
2 Miguel OLIVEIRA 44 POR 269 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
3 Brad BINDER 41 RSA 200 Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM
4 Lorenzo BALDASSARRI 7 ITA 158 Pons HP40 Kalex
5 Alex MARQUEZ 73 SPA 155 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex
6 Joan MIR 36 SPA 154 EG 0,0 Marc VDS Kalex
7 Fabio QUARTARARO 20 FRA 153 Beta Tools – Speed Up Racing Speed Up
8 Luca MARINI 10 ITA 146 SKY Racing Team VR46 Kalex
9 Marcel SCHROTTER 23 GER 137 Dynavolt Intact GP Suter
10 Xavi VIERGE 97 SPA 130 Dynavolt Intact GP Kalex
11 Mattia PASINI 54 ITA 127 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
12 Iker LECUONA 27 SPA 59 Swiss Innovative Investors KTM
13 Jorge NAVARRO 9 SPA 58 Federal Oil Gresini Moto2 Kalex
14 Sam LOWES 22 GBR 49 Swiss Innovative Investors KTM
15 Andrea LOCATELLI 5 ITA 45 Italtrans Racing Team Kalex
16 Simone CORSI 24 ITA 45 Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex
17 Dominique AEGERTER 77 SWI 41 Kiefer Racing KTM
18 Augusto FERNANDEZ 40 SPA 36 Pons HP40 Kalex
19 Remy GARDNER 87 AUS 28 Tech 3 Racing Tech 3
20 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA 45 JPN 22 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex
21 Romano FENATI 13 ITA 14 Marinelli Snipers Team Kalex
22 Hector BARBERA 40 SPA 10 Pons HP40 Kalex
23 Jesko RAFFIN 2 SWI 9 Temporary Lavorint SAG Team Kalex
24 Stefano MANZI 62 ITA 8 Forward Racing Team Kalex
25 Danny KENT 52 GBR 8 Beta Tools – Speed Up Racing Speed Up
26 Isaac VIñALES 32 SPA 7 SAG Team Kalex
27 Joe ROBERTS 16 USA 5 NTS RW Racing GP NTS
28 Bo BENDSNEYDER 64 NDL 3 Tech 3 Racing Tech 3
29 Khairul Idham PAWI 89 MAL 2 IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia Kalex
30 Steven ODENDAAL 4 RSA 1 NTS RW Racing GP NTS
31 Edgar PONS 57 SPA 1 AGR Team Kalex
32 Niki TUULI 66 FIN 1 Petronas Sprinta Racing Kalex