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Moto2 podium at the 2018 GP of Qatar

The Moto2 ‘Circle’

Mar 182018

Qatar. Losail. Lights (cameras and lots of action). And from three superb races for the opening chapter of 2018 MotoGP, the dash, dispute and dice between Pecco Bagnaia, Lorenzo Baldassarri and Alex Marquez for Moto2 honours was among the most watchable.

It was housemates and fellow Italians Bagnaia (incandescent on the strikingly dark Sky Racing Team VR46 machine) and ‘Balda’ (on his first outing for Pons HP40) that cranked up the tension in what was a close duel. Black Knight versus White. “The race felt really long!” Bagnaia admitted. “The gap was always 0.4-0.5 and then the fight with Lorenzo on the last lap. Was nice.”

As with most engaging sporting finales the climax was not a disappointment. Bagnaia, chasing his first victory and Balda just his second, somehow shared the same piece of track in the last corners and the slither of space between the bikes was measured at a tenth of a second as the chequered flag was furiously waved.


“It was fantastic at the end,” said runner-up Balda. “Pecco was strong from the beginning and I was not expecting that…I’m very happy with how I managed to do the last laps. My strategy was to attack on those last corners but I went a bit wide. I’m happy with the new team and how we started the season.”

“I came closer to Pecco…then my rear brake broke and my bike was not pushing,” the ex-Moto3 World Champ explained. “I thought it was the engine at first and I went wide off the track and thought ‘my race is finished here’ but in the last seven laps I could push again even if the brake was not working. We went for the podium and took maximum points in the situation.”

While Bagnaia – a former Moto3 winner and a 21 year old with a MotoGP contract in his pocket for 2019 – emptied a champagne bottle for the first time in Moto2, Marquez (one of the favourites for the ’18 crown) closed the Monster Energy podium circle.


The trio, and the myriad of other chasers in a category that sees a massive overhaul on the horizon with Triumph set to introduce their enticing three cylinder engine into the mix for 2019, will collide again in three weeks time with the Argentine asphalt of Termas de Rio Hondo.