14:30 PM

Bagnaia and Martin join the Dunlop World Champions ‘Hall of Fame’

Dunlop, the official tyre partner to the FIM Moto2™ and Moto3™ World Championship, has two new winners to add to its list of champions after the penultimate 2018 MotoGP round in Sepang, Malaysia.

Francesco Bagnaia is the 2018 Moto2™ World Champion, after storming to 8 wins in a closely fought season. For Dunlop, there was added pride in the Italian’s coronation, as Bagnaia is a graduate from the Dunlop supported VR46 Academy, the rider development programme led by MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi.

 2018 was the second Moto2™ season for the Turin rider. In 2017 he finished 5th in the World Championship and was crowned ‘Rookie of the Year’, giving him the confidence and experience to score a win in the opening 2018 race in Qatar, setting him up for a title-winning campaign.

Next year,  Bagnaia will move into MotoGP with Pramac Racing, underlining Dunlop’s commitment to the ‘Road to MotoGP’ programme. This provides a ladder through the sport, with the tyre company supporting junior categories such as the British Talent Cup, Asia Talent Cup, European Talent Cup, Red Bull MotoGP Rookies and other national series in the search for the next MotoGP hero.

One of the most competitive steps on that ladder is Moto3™, which regularly sees frenetic slipstreaming races that reward the rider with the most finely-honed racecraft. In Sepang yesterday, Jorge Martin won the title after 7 wins.  The Spanish rider is also a graduate of Dunlop’s talent scheme, having been a frontrunner in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup. Like Bagnaia, Martin won in Qatar before starting an epic season-long battle with Marco Bezzecchi.

Wim Van Achter, Motorsport Manager, Dunlop Europe, praised the winning duo: “Both championships feature some of the closest racing in motorsport. To win a race is very difficult, to win a championship requires incredible talent and mental strength. Bagnaia and Martin join a long list of Dunlop champions and we are proud to support them. There’s one round left in the championships and the Valencia finale also hosts the British Talent Cup, so there will be three opportunities for fans to see the next generation of talent in our ‘Road to MotoGP’ programme.”

 Dunlop has been the tyre supplier for both the 600cc Moto2™and 250cc Moto3™classes since they started in 2010 and 2012 respectively. Dunlop was chosen to supply the whole grid after establishing itself as the premier tyre in the open competition ‘tyre war’ era of the championships’ forerunners - 250GP and 125GP. Previous Dunlop Moto2™and Moto3™champions who have progressed to become MotoGP frontrunners include Maverick Vinales, Johann Zarco, Pol Espargaró and 5 time MotoGP Champion Marc Marquez.