Moto2 rookie Manuel Gonzalez, who had never visited the Sepang International Circuit before, put in a superb ride in the Grand Prix of Malaysia. He came close to his and the Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team‘s first podium in the intermediate class, and ultimately took an encouraging fifth place due to pain in his arm in the latter stages of the race. Keminth Kubo also had a very positive race day. He rode from P23 on the grid to a solid 16th place.
Gonzalez started the race from P5 on the grid. Though he was in ninth place going through Turn 1, he was back in fifth after skilfully avoiding a multi-rider Turn 2 crash. The Spaniard then started his charge. He was chasing Jake Dixon, and it soon became clear he had the pace to get ahead. He made his move on lap 2, swiftly moving up to fourth place.
The number-18 rider then had to put his head down. The gap to third was just over half a second. With 10 laps to go, he made his move on Alonso Lopez and made it stick. The gap to the leading two was 5.3s, so instead Manu focused on defending his podium position. However, five laps before the end he experienced some difficulty with his arm. He ultimately finished the race in fifth place.
Kubo didn‘t have the best start from P23 but managed to avoid the chaos of the first couple of corners and completed the first lap still in 23rd place. He had good pace and started climbing up the rankings. By the end of lap 7, he was in 19th place, pulling away from wildcard and fellow Yamaha VR46 Master Camp training week graduate Kasma Daniel.
The number-81 gained further confidence as he overtook Sean Dylan Kelly. It spurred him on to take on the next challenge: overtaking Marcos Ramirez for 17th. He got the job done with six laps remaining. The Thai rider was closing in on the rider ahead of him, decreasing a 5.5s gap to just over 1s across the finish line. Due to a late crash of another rider, Kubo took the chequered flag in 16th place.
Today‘s race results see Gonzalez move up two places to 17th in the championship standings, with 66 points. Keminth Kubo stays in 25th with 7.5 points. The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team also stay in 11th position, now with 82.5 points.
The team will travel back to Europe and enjoy one week off before the final round of the 2022 season, held at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo in Valencia, Spain from 4-6 November.