Gresini dedicates Martin title to Simoncelli

'Seven years ago we lost Marco here, so I would like to dedicate this title to him' – Fausto Gresini.
Gresini dedicates Martin title to Simoncelli

Jorge Martin was set to lose the lead of the Moto3 World Championship with just six laps to go of Sunday's penultimate round at Sepang.

The Spaniard had been shuffled down to fifth place as title rival Marco Bezzecchi surged to the head of the field.

But Martin kept his cool, sliced swiftly through to retake the lead and broke clear for a 3.5s victory.

Unknown to Martin as he crossed the line was that Bezzecchi would be pushed back to fifth in a frantic last lap battle.

Only realising his title dream had come true when he glanced at a TV screen on the slowdown lap, Martin was immediately overcome with emotion.

"My whole life passed before my eyes," Martin said. "I come from a humble family and it wasn't easy to get here where we are now.

"I would like to thank everyone who supported me and helped me grow: from the 'Cuna de Campeones' to the rookies cup to obviously Gresini Racing.

"I saw this title almost slipping out of my hands in Thailand when I thought I wouldn't have raced [due to the hand injury], but we did and I want to thank everyone, including my rivals.

"To win the title and take the race win at the same time is probably the best thing in the world, so thank you once again!"

Martin's title triumph is the third world championship for the Gresini team, after Daijiro Kato (2002) and Toni Elias (2010), but first in the Moto3 category.

Most poignantly, Martin's crown came at the same circuit where Gresini rider Marco Simoncelli lost his life in 2011.

"Seven years ago we lost Marco here, so I would like to dedicate this title to him," said team boss and former double 125cc world champion Fausto Gresini.

"Everyone in the team has been incredible. We are World Champions by getting the most pole positions and race wins and by winning both team and riders' classifications.

"It has been a perfect season, and we could still wrap it up with Diggia's second place!"

Martin's team-mate Fabio di Giannantonio is nine points behind Bezzecchi heading into the Valencia finale.