Raúl Fernández

2018 FIM Moto3 Junior World Champion

Born on 23 October 2000 in Madrid, Spain

FERNANDEZ TAKES FAST TRACK TO THE TOP

Raùl Fernàndez (KTM) was crowned as the FIM Moto3 Junior World Champion before a wheel was even turned at the final round of the season in Valencia, with his only title rival Manuel Pagliani (Honda) forced to withdraw. However, the odds were already heavily stacked in the favour of the Spanish youngster, who went into the final two races of the campaign needing just two points to wrap up an outstanding championship.

After conceding victory by just 0.199 seconds to Pagliani (Honda) in the opening round at Estoril, the Spaniard claimed a fourth place and a win in the two-race second round at Valencia to take a championship lead that he would not relinquish for the remainder of the season. Two further victories – at Aragón and Albacete - and a total of six podiums put Fernàndez in the perfect position to lift the title before he moves up to the FIM Moto3 World Championship next season, having already impressed at Grand Prix level in 2018 with several points-scoring rides as a wildcard.

Fernàndez only started racing minibikes in 2011 before being nurtured by the Cuna de Campeones youth development system and progressing quickly to the Moto3 Spanish Championship. In 2015 he entered four rounds at national level, taking two wins, three second places and a fourth, and made his international debut in the Red Bull Rookies Cup. In 2016 he took two wins and six podiums in the youth series and after a difficult season riding a Mahindra in the FIM Moto3 Junior World Championship in 2017, he switched to a KTM for 2018 and emerged as one of the brightest talents in Circuit Racing.

PALMARES
World title - 2018

Francesco Bagnaia

2018 FIM Moto2 Grand Prix World Champion

Born on 14th January 1997 in Torino, Italy

PECCO’S PERFECT YEAR

Francesco Bagnaia (Kalex) claimed the 2018 FIM Moto2 World Championship title with a race to spare, claiming his twelfth podium finish of an incredibly consistent season at the eighteenth round of nineteen in Malaysia, having already posted eight wins.

‘Pecco’ is no stranger to making history in his short career, having famously scored the first win for Indian factory Mahindra in the Moto3 class in 2016 at the TT Circuit Assen. Another win at Sepang put him fourth in the overall standings that year and marked the 21-year-old out as a man to watch when he made the step up to Moto2 in 2017.

Bagnaia’s first Moto2 podium came at Jerez in round four and was followed by three more as he finished as the Rookie of the Year in fifth overall. Back with Sky Racing Team VR46 for 2018, the Italian started the season on the top step with a first Moto2 win in Qatar and followed up in Texas and Le Mans to make it three from the opening five races.

Miguel Oliveira’s (KTM) victory at Mugello brought him to within a single point of Bagnaia and the pair traded wins at Assen, Brno and Austria as the championship battle turned into a two-rider affair. However, further wins at Misano, Buriram and Motegi moved Pecco clear, as he picked up points in every single race.

After missing his first chance to take the title at Phillip Island, third place in Malaysia was enough to make Bagnaia the second Italian rider to win the FIM Moto2 World Championship, following on from Franco Morbidelli last year.

PALMARES

World title - 2018

Jorge Martin

2018 FIM Moto3 World Champion

Born on 29th January 1998 in Madrid, Spain

MAGIC MARTIN COMES OUT ON TOP

Jorge Martin (Honda) sealed the FIM Moto3 World Championship in style with his seventh victory of the season at the penultimate round in Malaysia. Martin was a frontrunner throughout the season but the Spaniard had to weather the ups and downs of a tense year of competition to come out on top against key rivals Marco Bezzecchi (KTM) and Fabio Di Giannantonio (Honda).

Martin made his debut on the world stage in 2015 but emerged as a serious title threat two years later, when he picked up the first of nine podiums in the opening round of 2017 in Qatar, as well as posting nine pole positions. After proving that the speed was there, a maiden victory in the final round at Valencia showed that he was ready to challenge for bigger things in 2018 and the 20-year-old did not disappoint.

The year began perfectly with victories in Qatar and Texas but incidents with other riders at Jerez and Le Mans resulted in two DNFs and threatened to undermine his season as Bezzecchi hit form. More wins at Mugello, Assen and Sachsenring sandwiched another zero in Catalunya before disaster struck at Brno as the Spaniard broke his left wrist in FP1. Incredibly, Martin returned to the track just a week later in Austria, taking a stunning podium finish in a race won by his great rival to keep himself in the hunt.

The pendulum continued to swing between Martin and Bezzechi, both riders collecting more wins and zeroes, before eventually a crash for the Italian at Phillip Island gave the Spaniard his title shot. Di Giannantonio had scored two wins and six podiums to keep himself in contention but after another incredible race, Martin pulled the pin to perfection and with Bezzecchi in fifth and Di Giannantonio sixth, he could celebrate an emotional title.

Jorge Martín is the fourth Honda rider to win the FIM Moto3 World Championship title and the third rider from Spain after Maverick Viñales, Álex Márquez and Joan Mir.

PALMARES
World title – 2018

Sandro Cortese

2018 FIM Supersport World Champion

Born on 6 January 1990 in Ochsenhausen, Germany

SANDRO DOES IT IN STYLE

Sandro Cortese (Yamaha) added the FIM Supersport World Championship title to the FIM Moto3 World Championship he claimed in 2012, after a season of unerring consistency in the 600cc class. The German rider moved to production bike racing after a long career in the Grand Prix paddock - which started in the 125cc class in 2005 before progressing to Moto3 and then five years spent in the Moto2 class that wielded three podium finishes - and he brought his experience, speed, racing talent and fighting spirit, to ensure fans were entertained to the very last lap of the season.

Cortese started his rookie season in the class with a podium at Phillip Island in a race won by defending champion Lucas Mahias (Yamaha), with the Frenchman taking second behind Randy Krummenacher (Yamaha) in round two in Thailand to share the early championship lead with the Swiss rider. However, as both Mahias and Krummenacher struggled for consistency, victories for Cortese at Aragon and Donington and Jules Cluzel (Yamaha) at Assen, Imola and Brno saw the German and the Frenchman move clear at the top.

There was controversy at Portimao when a collision between the pair ended with Cluzel on the ground and empty-handed, but the Frenchman bounced back with consecutive wins at Magny-Cours and Argentina, where Cortese was second on both occasions, to set up a final-round decider with five points between them in Qatar.

A dramatic race that almost didn’t go ahead because of a bizarre rainstorm in the afternoon, saw Cortese and Cluzel regularly trade places at the front, but when Mahias made a move for the lead the German used all his racecraft to keep the pressure on his title rival, who needed the win. Eventually Cluzel cracked and a front-end crash with just three laps to go secured a hard-earned championship for Cortese, whilst a third win for Mahias moved him ahead of his compatriot in the final standings.

After Jörg Teuchert in 2000, Sandro becomes only the second German to win the FIM Supersport World Championship.

PALMARES

2 World Titles – Moto3 in 2012, Supersport in 2018

Toby Price

2018 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion

Born on 18 August 1987 in Hillston, Australia

PRICE IS RIGHT FOR GOLD

Toby Price finally added an FIM gold medal to his impressive list of off-road honours in 2018, claiming the FIM Cross Country Rallies World Championship after overhauling 2016 and 2017 champion Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) in a thrilling final round in Morocco.

Price had scored several stage wins throughout 2018 but went into the Rally du Maroc looking for his first overall victory of the campaign, knowing that’s what it would probably take to overturn Quintanilla’s eight-point advantage.

The season had started with mixed fortunes for the Australian, who won the opening test at the first round in Abu Dhabi only to crash on the second stage, costing him over half an hour while he made repairs. The next day saw Price wait with an injured rider until medical assistance could arrive and even though he was given the lost time back he ended the rally seventh, whilst the Chilean opened his title defence with a commanding victory.

With the Qatar Cross-Country Rally not supported by the factory teams, Polish youngster Maciej Giemza (KTM) claimed the win and the championship lead and after success for 2018 runner-up Kevin Benavides (Honda) at the Atacama Rally in Chile and Paulo Gonçalves (Honda) in Argentina - with Price taking the runner-up spot in both – the chase for the title going into Morocco was wide open.

After winning the prologue and the Marathon stage, second place on the final test was enough to secure the rally victory and the title for Price, with Quintanilla unable to do better than fourth overall. Price’s triumph in Morocco came four years to the day of his maiden international rally at the same event in 2014.

PALMARES

1 World title – 2018

Tai Woffinden

2018 FIM Speedway Grand Prix World Champion

Born on 10 August 1990 in Scunthorpe, Great Britain

WOOFY, WOOFY, WOOFY!

Tai Woffinden became the first British rider ever to be crowned as a three-time FIM Speedway World Champion and secure his status as a true legend of the sport at the final round of the 2018 season in Toruń, Poland.

After another strong and consistent campaign, ‘Woofy’ headed into a title showdown with Bartosz Zmarzlik in front of 20,000 passionate fans at the Pole’s home round in Toruń needing just twelve points to claim the title. However, Zmarzlik produced an inspired performance to take four straight heat victories and keep the pressure on the British rider, who looked like he might have cracked in heat 11 when he crashed and suffered a suspected broken metacarpal in his foot.

Woffinden rode through the pain barrier and after a victory in heat 20 he took second place in the semi-final to wrap up the championship. The gritty Brit then rode with the shackles off in the final to win his second Grand Prix in a row and top the podium, inflicting Artem Laguta’s sole loss of a sensational night.

The championship runner-up spot for Zmarzlik, upgrading the bronze medal he won in 2016 to silver, was just reward for a strong season that included a famous win at Woffinden’s home round in Cardiff, whilst Lindgren’s first ever World Championship medal was the ideal way to bounce back after his 2017 season was ended by a spinal injury.

Woffinden, who also took gold in 2013 and 2015, surpasses fellow countrymen Freddie Williams and Peter Craven on two world titles and has already set his sights on matching Ivan Mauger and Tony Rickardsson’s record haul of six. His more immediate target for next season, though, is to retain the title for the first time and become only the third rider to do so in the SGP era since 1995.

PALMARES

3 World titles – 2013, 2015, 2018