SEPANG: Honda’s Jorge Martin was crowned world champion in the Moto3 class after storming to victory in the Malaysian Grand Prix Sunday in a nail-biting showdown with title rival Marco Bezzecchi.
Starting from pole position, the Spaniard took the chequered flag in 38min 34.799sec. Italian rival Bezzecchi only managed to come in fifth, giving Martin an insurmountable lead in the overall standings.
KTM rider Bezzecchi, who started from second on the grid, took the lead at the start of the race and dominated for the much of first half, with Martin trailing.
But just after the halfway point, Martin dived down the inside of the final turn at the Sepang International Circuit to snatch the lead.
There was a tense duel over several laps as the lead changed between the Italian and the Spaniard, with the rivals making contact on tight corners on more than one occasion.
However with four laps to go, Martin surged into a decisive lead, pulling away from Bezzecchi, who seemed to lose the will to fight on and drifted back.
Honda’s Lorenzo Dalla Porta was in second place while teammate Enea Bastianini was third.
Sunday’s win was the seventh this season for Martin. It was the first world championship title for the 20-year-old. He finished fourth overall in the 2017 season.