Johann Zarco has regained his Moto2 World Championship at the Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia after the Ajo Motorsport rider dominated the field, while his rivals faltered in the mixed conditions. Franco Morbidelli completed an excellent weekend in second position, holding off wet weather specialist Jonas Folger who used his experience to guide his Dynavolt machine home in third.
Treacherous conditions greeted the riders as they took to the grid for the start of the Moto2 race. The wet start saw second row starter Folger use his wet weather ability to take the holeshot from Morbidelli and polesitter Zarco. Championship challengers Tom Luthi and Alex Rins had mixed starts, the Swiss rider bogged the start and dropped from fifth to eighth. Rins however rocketed off the line moving from P23 to P13 in an impressive early gain.
Morbidelli wasted no time and made easy work of Folger to lead the Grand Prix from Zarco who also slid past the Struggling German and the Frenchman began to set his crosshairs on the young Italian. As the sun came out a dry line started to appear on track which made conditions even more trickier for the riders.
The front trio of Morbidelli, Zarco and Folger engaged in a tactical battle and they were always within touching distance of eachother which was also a benefit as they had opened up an enormous gap of ten seconds to Xavier Simeon in fourth. Several moments for Morbidelli allowed Zarco to reel the Marc VDS rider in and now the Ajo Motorsport rider could plan the safest possible overtake if the opportunity arose.
Zarco pounced for the lead with six laps remaining and immediately opened up a two second lead over the fading Morbidelli and Folger who were now engaged in their own battle for second. Within three laps the confident Frenchman had extended his gap to four seconds and looked well on his way to regaining his Moto2 crown.
Zarco held his nerve to take his sixth victory of the season and in the process became the first French rider to claim more than one Grand Prix title, he also becomes the first man to defend the Moto2 title since its introduction in 2010.
Further behind, the battle for second intensified as Morbidelli and Zarco traded blows with the Italian eventually fending off the Gallant German rider to finish second by a mere .4s. This is Morbidelli’s fourth consecutive podium, continuing his rich run of form in the latter half of the season.
Lorenzo Baldassarri recovered from a dismal start to scythe his way through the field and claim an impressive fourth place finish, but he was over twenty seconds back from winner Zarco. Hafizh Syahrin impressed in front of his home crowd to take a solid fifth place ahead of Championship contender Luthi who topped off a disappointing weekend in sixth. Alex Marquez produced an incredible ride to finish seventh from P21 on the grid.
Xavi Vierge grabbed eighth having started from P25 while Luca Marini and Isaac Viñales gave a good account of themselves to round out the top ten. Alex Rins championship challenge ended in awful fashion in 14th.
After his win, Zarco celebrated in front of the crowd with a backflip alongside his similarly athletic teammate Tetsuta Nagashima.
Moto2 returns in two weeks time when they head to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia.