Italy’s Bagnaia wins Moto2 world title in Malaysia

Sky Racing Team VR46’s Italian rider Francesco Bagnaia and his team celebrate winning the 2018 Moto2 world championship at the end of the Moto2 race of the Malaysia MotoGP at the Sepang International Circuit in Sepang. (AFP pic)

SEPANG: Italy’s Francesco Bagnaia was crowned world champion in the Moto2 class after coming third in the Malaysian Grand Prix Sunday and taking an unbeatable lead in the standings.

Italian rider Luca Marini won the race while Bagnaia’s closest rival for the title, Portugal’s Miguel Oliveira, came second at the Sepang International Circuit.

But it was not enough to prevent Bagnaia, riding a Kalex, from clinching the world title, with the Italian needing just a podium finish in Malaysia.

Kalex rider Marini led from the start and broke away from the pack early on, with Oliveira only occasionally threatening his dominant position.

The Italian won the race in 38min 25.689sec and it was his debut grand prix victory.

A large gap opened up between the front three riders in the final stages, and Bagnaia appeared content to roll in third to secure his world championship.

It is the first world title for Bagnaia.

“We tried in Phillip Island but we are not able, here it has been possible,” he said of winning the championship.

“The team did a great job this year.”

The 21-year-old has won eight races this season, and started racing in the Moto2 category last year.