Moto GP

The Moto2 World Championship will go down to the final race

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The Moto2 World Championship will go down to the final race, though not with the drama that the richly competitive series deserves.

A serious marshaling mistake in Sepang had a profound effect on the championship. Corner marshals failed to display the proper flag notifying riders of a wet surface on the opening lap of Friday morning practice, with disastrous results.

In quick succession crashes claimed three riders, including championship contender Marc Marquez . The former 125cc World Champion suffered head and neck injuries and was ruled out of the race after a medical examination. With a patch over his left eye-he suffered vision problems-he could only watch as Stefan Bradl nearly won the title, only to come second when the race was cut short by a red flag.

Marquez hasn't been completely ruled out of the Valencia season-ender, though his chances of competing are slim. The young Spaniard, his team, and medical officials will wait until Friday morning to determine whether his vision has sufficiently recovered to allow him to compete. Even if he is cleared, the odds are heavily stacked against him.

"It is a shame, because I was looking forward to competing in Valencia. With the injuries one can do nothing, especially being a sight problem," Marquez said,

"It is nothing serious, but we need more time. If it was the shoulder I could make an effort and run, but without perfect sight we can't take risks. If I couldn't see, even for one moment, I could put myself and other riders in danger. We can't be very optimistic, but the doctors said there's a small chance I could be better, so we'll see. If it doesn't improve, it will be a shame to miss the last race in Valencia in front of our fans, but we will be happy anyway with the season we had. We can't do anything about it and now we should only think about improving."

Bradl heads into the final race with a lead of 23 points, which means he has to finish 13th or better to take the Moto2 title to Germany for the first time, even if Marquez wins. It may not be as easy as it sounds. In four years of grand prix competition in Valencia, Bradl has never finished the race. In last year's Moto2 race he completed only 11 of 27 laps, which was his most ever. During his 125cc career, he completed eight (2009), two (2008), and one (2007) of 24 laps. Marquez can take some comfort from that. And anyone who saw Marquez's inspirational race from the back row to the podium at the Australian Grand Prix wouldn't rule him out.

"After the terrible weekend in Malaysia I took a bit of distance from the racing scene and it has done me very well," Bradl said,

"I was at home in Zahling and spent time with my friends and family. This was a very good distraction without appointments or interviews. This weekend, it's now back on and I think it's in the interest of Marco (Simoncelli) that we focus again on our sport. I think he would have even wanted it. If we then on Sunday toast a successful season we can be sure our thoughts are also with him.

"Despite everything, I will of course be at Valencia and I also feel like at this very special race that the inner tension from day to day is greater. That means, not that I do feel more pressure than at different races, but it's a different feeling than usual in Valencia. I was always really fast and doing well, but my last race finish was 2007 when I think I was Spanish champion. But I expect that we will fix that flaw this year. The preparation for this race is, and will be, no different than in the previous races. We will proceed according to the same plan and perform our work as usual. At the end if I can win the world title in Germany, we will know at the latest on Sunday after the race."

As in MotoGP, the battle for third overall will be determined on Sunday. Andrea Iannone (Speed Master ‰ÛÒ Suter) has a slim two point lead over Alex de Angelis (JiR Moto2 ‰ÛÒ Motobi) in the race for the final spot on the championship podium. With three victories this season, Iannone would win any tie-breaker. Iannone finished second here last year, while de Angelis was sixth. But de Angelis has a win and a second from his 250cc days.

Main Photo: Stefan Bradl

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