Martín and Bagnaia experience another battle for the title in Sepang


The Malaysian Grand Prix, the penultimate round of the Motorcycle World Championship calendar on the Sepang track, opens the last and definitive triptych of consecutive races in which the title will be decided, with the two main contenders, the Spanish Jorge Martín (Ducati) and the Italian Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati), who has a cushion of 13 points, fighting again at the top, while Pedro Acosta (KTM) has another wing option in Moto2.

The fight for this season’s title is more alive than ever with only three races left – Sepang, Qatar and Valencia – to finish the season. And as usual this year, everything will be decided between the two Ducatis of ‘Martinator’ and ‘Pecco’, which is the one with the advantage in the classification.

However, this mattress is very narrow, only 13 points, after another ‘bite’ from the Spaniard two weeks ago in Thailand. The Pramac Racing rider achieved his fourth double of the season, winning the sprint race and Sunday’s race, completing a dream weekend in Burinam. Furthermore, it was a demonstration that he is more alive than ever, after two very unfortunate previous events, with a crash in Mandalika and a fateful last lap in Philip Island.

Thus, the one from San Sebastián de los Reyes regained his lead and wants to once again put pressure on a Bagnaia who already won in Sepang last year. Precisely, the Italian took advantage of a fall by Martín, a very favorite to get to the top of the podium in 2022, so he also arrives at the Malaysian track with a ‘thorn’.

But the Madrid native must be cold and aware that he still has three cards left and that the objective is to reach the traditional close in Cheste with a chance of winning the title in the premier category. Martín also wants to extend his dominance in the Sprint format, which he has dominated in the last five Grands Prix. However, his performance in Malaysia, where precipitation and temperatures above 30º are expected, is not very promising, since he has not scored points since winning in 2018 in Moto3.

He also reigned in Malaysia in the same Bagnaia category in 2016, in addition to a third place in Moto2 (2018) and the aforementioned victory last year. The Italian was the protagonist last year for an incredible comeback of 90 points in the final stretch against the Frenchman Fabio Quartararo. A feat he doesn’t want to get back this year. To do this, in addition to the 13-point advantage, the current champion has the option of running a race with free pressure on the tires, a bullet that Martín has already used.

Far from this ‘war’ for the title and with KTM and Aprilia as an alternative to the expected dominance of Ducati in Malaysia, are the Hondas of Marc Márquez and Joan Mir, with hardly any chance of getting something positive from Sepang. The one from Cervera won on this circuit in 2014 and 2018 already in the premier category, but the current status of the Japanese factory does not allow us to be very optimistic, neither on the Malaysian track nor in Qatar, so, like the Balearic one – with a victory in 2017 in Moto3 -, he will try not to make the wound too big before saying goodbye to Valencia.

Another incentive will be the presence of the Spanish Álvaro Bautista, brand new two-time World Superbike champion, in the test, thanks to the invitation of Ducati, as Dani Pedrosa already did with KTM on two occasions this season, in Jerez and Misano.


For his part, Pedro Acosta (KTM) from Murcia faces his second match ball in Malaysia to win the Moto2 title, after finishing second in Thailand, behind an outstanding Fermín Aldeguer (Boscoscuro). That first difficult battle to win the World Championship was not feasible due to the fourth place of his main rival for first place, the Italian Tony Arbolino (Kalex), who was fourth.

But the options for the man from Mazarrón, with 63 cushion points, will be greater in Sepang, where however he has never scored points in his three years in the Motorcycle World Championship. Therefore, Acosta needs to finish the Malaysian race with a cushion of at least 50 points over the Italian. That means that by finishing in the top four he will be proclaimed champion, regardless of Arbolino’s final result.

Finally, in Moto3, the Spanish Jaume Masià (Honda) continues to lead with 230 points after being fourth in Thailand, in a race won by the 17-year-old Colombian David Alonso (GasGas), ‘rookie’ of the year and now 25 points behind. that of Algemesí. The Valencian extended his lead over the second placed rider, Ayumu Sasaki (Husqvarna), now to 17, and with the national rider Daniel Holgado (KTM), also with options, to 25.