Moto3: Martin faces the pressure from Bezzecchi with two left

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It’s an up and down year for Moto3 title protagonists Jorge Martin and Marco Bezzecchi and after the myriad twists and turns of the season so far there was yet another at Phillip Island. Despite recovering in style from a tougher qualifying, Bezzecchi was crashed out through no fault of his own and failed to score – meaning the gap extends back out from a single point to 12. But with Fabio Di Giannantonio taking second in Australia to Martin’s fifth, he’s also closed back in to 20 points down. Now, it’s time for Malaysia and a first match point.

So, who will Sepang International Circuit favour? Martin is the only one of the three to have been on the podium there before, but the form book is far from the script for this season. Will KTM power or Honda corner speed win out? Will the weather stay dry or will it be a rainy race to remember? And finally, will it decide the title?

Martin is, again, the only one of the three who could wrap it up at Sepang. If the Spaniard can extend his gap at the top to 25 points or more he’ll be the 2018 Moto3 world champion. An exact 25-point gap is enough for Martin because, should Bezzecchi equal him on points overall, he’ll have more wins – that’s one arena in which the Spaniard can’t be caught.

So, a win for Martin would mean Bezzecchi needs at least fourth to keep his hopes alive, but it would be curtains for Di Giannantonio’s charge as he’d be 25 points down and unable to equal Martin on number of victories, just like his compatriot Bezzecchi. But thousands of possibilities exist and Moto3 is far from a numbers game – or a sport of three.

A grid full of talent, speed and determination is a further complication for the trio fighting for the title, and there are home heroes too: Adam Norrodin at Petronas Sprinta Racing is Malaysian and his Japanese teammate Ayumu Sasaki will also want to keep pushing forward on his current charge at Sepang, which is the team’s home round.

Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer