Bradley Smith in the points at Malaysian Grand Prix as Miguel Oliveira on Moto2 podium

RACE 18th Rd. MotoGP 2018 – Sepang International Circuit (MAL)
Pol Espargaro & Bradley Smith KTM RC16 Sepang International Circuit 2018

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The tricky climate and technical prospect of the Sepang International Circuit created another unpredictable and challenging Grand Prix of Malaysia for what was the penultimate fixture on the 2018 calendar and the third race in a week. Red Bull KTM returned to the site of their opening test of the year and a term in which they have made significant progress in chasing the leading factories and top ten of the premier class grid.
The mix of dry and wet conditions on Saturday meant a sixth row starting berth for both Pol Espargaro and Bradley Smith when the red light closed for the second-to-last race of the season. Thankfully the track was dry and the temperatures were high after a weekend of varying set-up work with the KTM RC16.
Both riders circulated on the border of the top ten in the formative laps as the combination of pace and heat took their toll on the race rubber. Smith battled adversity and maintained a rhythm to classify 15th and obtain points for the fifth Grand Prix in a row; his longest streak of the season. Espargaro unfortunately drifted back and out of contention for tenth position with a technical problem. 
Smith: “We were lacking performance all race with some technical issues which meant I couldn't set my normal lap-times. I could still finish the race and took a point, which was a positive and there are just five points between Pol and me going into the last race. Five points is difficult to gain but it is still fun to be going into that situation. We worked well all weekend and the guys clearly know what they need to do and what they need to fix. I’m quite excited about Valencia. It will be my last Grand Prix and it is a track I enjoy. We’ll go there optimistic and keen to finish this chapter with KTM in a positive way.”
Espargaro: “I was losing power while I was eleventh and we don’t know at the moment what the problem was, the guys are checking. It has been a tough couple of weeks: we didn't have a good feeling in Japan and in Australia we were fast but the tyre blew and now we’ve had this issue. It has a been a tough end to the season but we’ll go to Valencia looking to finish things in a good way before we already think about 2019.”
Mike Leitner (Team Manager): “Disappointing today. Pol had good pace in the middle of the race and was going for tenth place but then we had a technical problem and we are still looking into the cause. Bradley got one point and while we cannot be happy with that we know that he gave his best. We’ll keep our motivation up for Valencia and look towards our next chapter in 2019. I think moments like these and the difficult first seasons are part of the learning process; it is a challenge, and we chose to be here. In Moto2 and Moto3 we were fighting until the end for the titles but it didn't happen and we’ll look at things this winter and see what we can do better for next year.”
Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira pushed Luca Marini hard in an attempt to win the Moto2 Grand Prix at Sepang. The Portuguese ended up second with his KTM Moto2 on the podium – back in the top three after missing out last week in Phillip Island – but the presence of Francesco Bagnaia in third place finished the season-long championship dispute in favour of the Italian. Miguel is already confirmed as 2018 runner-up courtesy of his points tally and teammate Brad Binder is third for the year after taking 8th place in Malaysia.

Oliveira: "This was a Grand Prix in which we went very well. From the beginning I felt good, but Pecco (Bagnaia) was also strong; I was able to pass him and I went after Marini. Finally I couldn’t get close enough to overtake him. It was a very hard fought race. I’m very proud of the efforts I have made this year, of my riding, my season and our perseverance, although unfortunately it just wasn’t enough to beat Bagnaia. Pecco has been very strong and we have both been very consistent. We have battled with everything we had, my team have done a great job and I have also given 110%. Overall, it has been a season full of emotions that we want to finish with a victory in Valencia."
Aki Ajo (Team Manager Red Bull KTM Ajo): "Miguel (Oliveira) had a great race. He has been fighting hard all weekend and was very focused and confident, so we expected a strong race. He fought until the end to win, because it could be the last chance to keep the title race open for Valencia. Unfortunately, despite his great performance, it wasn’t possible. Even so, we can’t be disappointed with the season we have had, because in the end our riders are second and third in the World Championship – but it is obvious that we all prefer to win. Congratulations to Bagnaia and his team. For Brad (Binder) it was a difficult race because first he was caught in traffic and then it was impossible to climb positions, because he had grip problems. We need to analyse what happened. We are very motivated for Valencia. We want to get a good result there and fight for the Team World Championship."

In Moto3 Jorge Martin claimed the chequered flag. Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Moto2 rider for 2019 also sealed the 2018 championship by one point as Marco Bezzecchi could not finish higher than fifth and was just one position behind Australian Grand Prix winner Albert Arenas.  
MotoGP now travels back to Europe and for a week of respite before the traditional season curtain-closer at the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, Spain.
Final Race: November 18, 2018 – Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo (ESP)

Results MotoGP Sepang International Circuit 2018 
1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, +40.32.372 min
2. Alex Rins (ESP), Suzuki, +1.898 sec
3. Johann Zarco (FRA), Yamaha, +2.474
4. Maverick Vinales (ESP), Yamaha, +4.667
5. Dani Pedrosa (ESP), Honda, +6.190
15. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +39.675
DNF Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +4 laps (technical problem)

Standings MotoGP 2018 after 18 of 19 rounds 
1. Marquez, 321 points
2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, 220
3. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, 195
4. Vinales, 193
5. Rins, 149
18. Espargaro, 35
19. Smith, 30
22. Kallio, 6

Results Moto2 Sepang International Circuit 2018 
1. Luca Marini (ITA), Kalex, 38:25.689 min
2. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +1.194
3. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, +3.020  
4. Mattia Pasini (ITA), Kalex, +4.497
5. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Speed Up, +5.250
8. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +8.943

Standings Moto2 2018 after 18 of 19 rounds 
1. Bagnaia, 304 points (2018 Moto2 World Champion)
2. Oliveira, 272
3. Binder, 201

4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA), Kalex, 162
5. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, 147

Results Moto3 Sepang International Circuit 2018 
1. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, 38:34.799 min
2. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA), Honda, +3.556 sec
3. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda, +3.757
4. Albert Arenas (ESP), KTM, +3.795
5. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA), KTM, +4.095
7. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +4.232

Standings Moto3 2018 after 18 of 19 rounds 
1. Martin, 240 points (2018 Moto3 World Champion)
2. Bezzecchi, 214

3. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, 205
4. Bastianini, 166
5. Dalla Porta, 151

7. Gabriel Rodrigo (ARG), KTM, 116
8. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), KTM, 115
9. Arenas, 107
10. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, 95
17. Binder (RSA), KTM, 57

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