Malaysian Moto2: Zarco crowned two-time champion with Sepang win

Johann Zarco took his second Moto2 title with a win in the Malaysian Grand Prix, after his rivals faltered in mixed conditions.

A wet start to the race saw second row starter Jonas Folger taking the lead from Franco Morbidelli and polesitter Zarco. But Morbidelli wasted no time with Folger and went into the lead, with Zarco also making quick work of Folger and setting his sights on Morbidelli.

As the track started to dry up with sun shining, the top three stayed within touching distance of each other – and some 10 seconds clear of the rest - but the front trio didn’t remain for long.

After a few laps of trying, Zarco finally made a move stick on Morbidelli, which not only sealed the race win but also the 2016 title.

The French rider then extended the lead to 3.256s to take his sixth win of the season, and his first since the Austrian Grand Prix in mid-August. He also became the first French rider to claim more than one Grand Prix title.

Behind, Morbidelli fended off the pressure from Folger to finish second by a mere 0.433s, the Italian continuing his rich run of form with a fourth consecutive podium finish.

Much further back, with over 17.739s to third placed Folger, Lorenzo Baldassarri was a lonely fourth for the Swiss Forward team.

Meanwhile, in a three-way battle for fifth, Hafizh Syahrin was able to keep championship contender Thomas Luthi and Alex Marquez at bay.

Both Syahrin and Marquez made major inroads in the race, with the Malaysian making up nine places from 14th, while Marquez gained 14 places to claim seventh.

Also having a good race was Xavi Vierge, who grabbed eighth having started the race from 25th, as Luca Marini and Isaac Vinales completed the top 10.

Zarco gets emotional

After his win, Zarco celebrated in front of the crowd with a backflip alongside his similarly athletic teammate Tetsuta Nagashima. The emotional champion said: "It feels good. Difficult to not cry.

"In the wet I was not the fastest. But I could keep a good rhythm and when the track started to dry I feel much better so I could take my line and go at my pace and it was perfect to win the title.

"I want to say thank you to the team and everyone who supports me. I love my family, I love my family for the bike, and I want the best for them.

"I am so happy for this and it’s so, so nice to be a second-time champion," he added, as he burst into tears before the podium ceremony.

Race results:

PosDriverBikeLapsTimeGap
1 Johann Zarco Kalex 19 45'51.036  
2 Franco Morbidelli Kalex 19 45'54.292 3.256
3 Jonas Folger Kalex 19 45'54.725 3.689
4 Lorenzo Baldassarri Kalex 19 46'12.464 21.428
5 Hafizh Syahrin Kalex 19 46'15.736 24.700
6 Thomas Luthi Kalex 19 46'17.220 26.184
7 Alex Marquez Kalex 19 46'19.213 28.177
8 Xavi Vierge Tech 3 19 46'19.891 28.855
9 Luca Marini Kalex 19 46'20.283 29.247
10 Isaac Viñales Tech 3 19 46'21.005 29.969
11 Simone Corsi Speed Up 19 46'21.902 30.866
12 Ramdan Rosli Kalex 19 46'22.296 31.260
13 Remy Gardner Kalex 19 46'22.829 31.793
14 Alex Rins Kalex 19 46'25.733 34.697
15 Xavier Simeon Speed Up 19 46'37.705 46.669
16 Jesko Raffin Kalex 19 46'40.162 49.126
17 Sandro Cortese Kalex 19 46'40.329 49.293
18 Danny Kent Kalex 19 46'42.646 51.610
19 Edgar Pons Kalex 19 46'45.985 54.949
20 Marcel Schrötter Kalex 19 46'46.497 55.461
21 Takaaki Nakagami Kalex 19 46'59.649 1'08.613
22 Iker Lecuona Kalex 19 47'07.610 1'16.574
23 Mattia Pasini Kalex 19 47'16.874 1'25.838
24 Ratthapark Wilairot Kalex 19 47'52.671 2'01.635
  Alessandro Nocco Kalex 12 30'26.404 7 laps
  Robin Mulhauser Kalex 5 12'42.967 14 laps
  Axel Pons Kalex 1 2'32.852 18 laps
  Sam Lowes Kalex 1 2'35.544 18 laps
Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Moto2
Event Sepang
Track Sepang International Circuit
Drivers Johann Zarco
Article type Race report