By Rod Hanrick

With only two rounds remaining, starting this weekend in Malaysia, just three points separate Stefan Bradl and Marc Marquez at the top of the Moto2 World Championship.

The pair have exchanged the title lead on two occasions so far this season, with Bradl (Viessmann Kiefer Racing) regaining the advantage by the slimmest of margins after placing second ahead of Marquez (Team Catalunya Caixa Repsol) in last weekends Australian GP.

"For Phillip Island we went back to the Barcelona set-up, which proved to be the perfect solution from the word go on Friday," said 22 year old Bradl, from Augsburg. "We are also going to use this set-up including the old swingarm at Sepang.

"I am looking forward to this race because I feel I have a good chance to take some more points away from Marquez. Of course I was not entirely happy with Australia, because I only expected Marquez to catch up to 5th or 9th place."

Rookie Marquez began the Australian race from the back of the grid, after a penalty for crashing into Ratthapark Wilairot after the chequered flag in practice.

The championship can be won by Bradl in Sepang only if he secures victory and the Spaniard fails to score more than 2 points, an unlikely outcome given Marquez's current form, making the closing round in Valencia the likely nail-biting championship decider.

Bradl won four out of the first six races to amass a commanding lead in the championship by mid season, only to be chased down by the hard-riding 18 year old who has won six out of the last nine rounds.

However the German will not give in, "he [Marquez] is a great rider with a bright future ahead of him. On the other hand I fought hard to win and pulled four points back which puts me into the lead of the world championship with only two races to go.

"I have finished on the podium in ten races and a have seen at Motegi and Phillip Island that Marquez is making mistakes... I have definitely not given up! I have nothing to lose at this stage. We have a great team and a good bike."

Both riders achieved strong results in Malaysia last year with Bradl fighting his way to seventh from 22nd on the grid and Marquez winning the 125cc race. Marquez remains wary of the impact the tropical conditions could have, especially after crashing at Phillip Island.

"After that intensive weekend we start over again in Malaysia. It is a Grand Prix where you need to be very well prepared physically and although I still have some bruises, I hope I will be at 100%," he said.

"The physical preparation is good, so during the practice and the race it will be important to be careful with hydration. Another thing to take into account are the sudden and frequent rains, that can change the conditions of the track in a moment."

The two title contestants won't be alone in their battle for glory however, as Andrea Iannone (Speed Master) and Alex De Angelis (JiR Moto2-MotoBI) are separated by only eight points in their fight for third place in the championship and of course both riders are desperate for another race win.

De Angelis commented: "Before the Phillip Island race, the target was to win the race. I did it, now the other target is to try, also to overtake Iannone in the championship. But apart from [Phillip Island], the past part of the season Iannone is very, very fast. It will be so difficult at Sepang, but I never give up."

The two have enjoyed a spur of good form recently, which can only further fuel the tense dogfight at the sweltering circuit.

Practice for penultimate round of the season starts tomorrow (Friday).


Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register to add your comment