ROUND 18: MALAYSIA 2019
JAMES TOSELAND’S INSIDER INSIGHTS: 12th NOVEMBER 2019
SEPANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT - MALAYSIA
Before I start I start this blog, I would like to pass on my thoughts and best wishes to all the family and friends of Afridza Munandar, who sadly lost his life this weekend.
The Sepang circuit is the most physically demanding of all MotoGP events. With its 80% humidity and 35+ degree ambient temperatures, it’s an endurance riding experience.
Try to imagine going 225mph in a sauna and you’re not far away from what it is like riding in the Malaysian GP!
There were a lot of crashes in the Sepang Moto 3 race. One of the main reasons for this is because of the extreme conditions I’ve described above.
To keep focused and avoid making any mistakes while racing in these conditions is so tough and if you haven’t hydrated properly or worked on your fitness then you will inevitably find yourself missing the apex or emptying the gravel from your boots!
It was once again an incredible Moto 3 race! Lorenzo Dalla Porta took his third victory in a row and it was a champion’s ride from the newly crowned Moto 3 World Champion.
The rider who finished 2nd is a perfect example of just how competitive the Moto 3 championship is. Sergio Garcia is 22nd in the championship but if I told you that before the race I’m sure you wouldn’t have believed me with how well the young Spaniard rode in Sepang!
The final step of the podium was occupied by the exciting talent of Jaume Masia. If this young rider can find consistency next season then he’s one of my tips for the 2020 championship.
John McPhee secured 5th place in the championship with his 7th place finish in Sepang. He was once again at the sharp end of the race and I’m so happy for John to finish inside that top 5 in the world. It was a steady start to this year’s campaign for John but after round 4 he’s been at the front of most races and I hope he can challenge for a top 3 next season!
I’m going to be at Valencia to watch the final race of the championship and I can’t wait to watch this incredibly competitive championship live for the first time this year.
Alex Marquez’s closest rivals in the championship did everything they could to keep their hopes of winning the championship alive but Brad Binder and Tom Luthi had to finally concede the Moto 2 World Championship to the 2014 Moto 3 Champion, Alex Marquez.
Alex shouldered the enormous pressures put on by himself, his team and all of his sponsors to clinch the 2019 Moto 2 World Championship.
Alex has massively stepped up this season. He has always been the bridesmaid to all of his team mates since his inaugural Moto 2 season in 2015 but this year it all came together for him.
10 podiums, 5 of them by way of victory from 18 races, is why Alex was crowed champion this year.
To win championships at the highest level in motorcycle racing requires consistency and this is what Alex was struggling with in previous years. Alex seemed to find the balance of ambition and what the limits of himself and his bike were in a much better way. I think one of the main factors for this was the change of manufacturer this year.
Alex loved his Triumph 765 from the first time he rode it and it looked like the Triumph compared to the Honda he rode for 8 years previously gave him that feedback he was looking for to allow him to ride the way he wanted to.
Triumph have taken 15 lap records this season from 18 races! Triumph’s extra horsepower, better gearbox and improved electronics have been so well received from all of the Moto 2 riders this season and no more so than the 2019 World Champion, Alex Marquez.
This will be the 2nd Christmas the Marquez’s will be celebrating with two world champions at the dinner table and it is so well deserved. Congratulations Alex!
I’m looking forward to seeing how he defends the number one plate next year.
It was another fantastic victory for South African Brad Binder and it is a shame that KTM’s chassis at the beginning of the season wasn’t competitive because Brad’s second half of the season has been incredible, from the last 10 races he has won 4 and finished on the podium in 7 of them!
I’m looking forward to seeing him in MotoGP next year!
Tom Luthi was 3rd and he’s put a great year together so far after his confidence-knocking year in MotoGP last season. It shows his strength of character to come back from that and fight for the championship in his first year back in the Moto 2 championship.
With Alex clinching the championship in Sepang it means that all 3 categories are wrapped up for 2019 and we have been denied the epic Valencia showdown but all 3 classes have provided us with some of the best motorcycle racing we’ve ever seen.
I’m sure Alex will be relieved to go to his home race without the nail-biting finale though and I’m sure the fans will welcome the newly-crowned champion at the final race next week.
It was win or bust in Phillip Island for Maverick Vinales and we know how that ended up but here in Sepang the tables turned!
It was a brilliant ride from Maverick and you could see how much it meant to him as he crossed the finish line.
Maverick has only had 7 podiums this season and Sepang was his second victory this year. I’m sure he would have liked more than that but it’s been a huge improvement from Yamaha and himself compared to last year.
Maverick will have to ride just as well though in Valencia because Alex Rins is only 7 points behind him in the championship and I know there are very reasonable bonuses for finishing inside the top 3 of any works championship so keep an eye out for a great battle next Sunday!
Two Spaniards on a Spanish track with top 3 bonuses up for grabs?!? Game on!
I think I have praised Marc Marquez enough this year but his brilliance this year just keeps on going. He hasn’t finished lower than 2nd all season and he’s only had one non-finish back in America. What can you say??
Marc has been devastatingly dominant this year and it must be so difficult for all of the riders and manufacturers to try and figure out how to beat this man.
For me, the two that could at the minute are Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo. The only problem with that is they are both riding a Yamaha and even with their huge improvement this season they have a long way to go before they give either of those riders a bike that can consistently beat Marc.
I hope the 2020 Yamaha makes another step forward and we can look forward to those 3 riders and a few others of course, fighting it out in all of the races next year.
Andrea Dovizioso clinched his 9th podium of the year and secured 2nd place in the championship once again. If it wasn’t for Marc Marquez, Dovi and Ducati would be multiple world champions!
I’d love to see Marc on a Ducati! It looks like Marc is a great believer though in the saying, ‘If it’s not broken...’ Who knows what will happen in the future!
Valentino Rossi had a great ride in 4th also and was unlucky not to finish on the podium. If Dovi didn’t have such a speed advantage on the straights then Valentino would have definitely got the better of him.
I can’t believe there is only one race left this season! It’s gone so fast!
As I said before, I’ll be trackside in Valencia and I can’t wait to see all the action live next weekend for the first time this year!
Catch up soon!
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