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Zarco clinches second straight Moto2 title in Malaysia

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Johann Zarco became the first rider to successfully defend the Moto2 title by wrapping up the championship with one race remaining in Malaysia on Sunday.

Zarco, 26, won the intermediate class of motorcycle racing for the first time in 2015, but did not make the move up to MotoGP, instead preferring to spend another year in Moto2 with the Kalex-backed Ajo Motorsport team.

Zarco faced a stiffer challenge for the title in 2016, coming under early pressure from Thomas Luthi and Alex Rins at the top of the riders’ championship.

The Frenchman enjoyed a run of four victories in five races over the summer to re-assert his authority over the field, only for a DNF at Silverstone to allow Rins to close the gap.

Two non-scores for Rins gave Zarco the chance to create some breathing room ahead of the final run-in, before victory on Sunday at Sepang saw him move into an unassailable lead with one race to go.

The result sees Zarco become the first French rider to win more than one title in grand prix motorcycle racing, and will give him a boost ahead of his long-awaited move up to MotoGP in 2017 with Tech3 Yamaha.

IndyCar teams with NASCAR on IMS road course doubleheader in 2021

IndyCar NASCAR doubleheader 2021
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The NTT IndyCar Series will be sharing Indianapolis Motor Speedway with the NASCAR Cup Series in a race weekend doubleheader for the second consecutive season, but both series will be on the road course in August 2021.

IMS announced Wednesday that IndyCar will hold an Aug. 14, 2021 race on its 14-turn, 2.439-mile road course. It’ll be a day before NASCAR’s premier series runs the same layout for the first time after the Brickyard 400 was contested on the 2.5-mile oval for the first time in 27 years.

This season’s rescheduling of the IndyCar GMR Grand Prix to July 4, 2019 (a day before the Brickyard 400) led to the first NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader weekend. The Xfinity Series also raced on the IMS road course for the first time July 4 after the IndyCar race ended.

INDYCAR AT IMS THIS WEEKEND: Harvest GP schedule, entry lists

IndyCar will be holding its second race weekend this year at the IMS road course Friday and Saturday with the Harvest GP.

“Our first NASCAR-INDYCAR weekend was a big success last July, with positive feedback from
our loyal fans who watched the races on NBC and from the drivers, teams and participants
involved,” IMS president Douglas Boles said in a statement. “The Xfinity Series’ debut on the IMS road course provided exactly the kind of thrilling action from the green to checkered flags that we anticipated, so we know the teams and drivers of the Cup Series will put on a great show as they turn left and right for the first time at IMS.

“We can’t wait to welcome back fans to see NASCAR and INDYCAR together during this
exciting weekend as we add another memorable chapter in the long, storied history of the
Indianapolis Motor Speedway.”

It also will mark the first NASCAR Cup-IndyCar doubleheader with a crowd as fans weren’t permitted at IMS in July because of the novel coronvavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Over the course of Wednesday, NASCAR is releasing its 36-race slate for next season. IndyCar has yet to release its full 2021 schedule.