(Reuters) - France’s Johann Zarco won the Moto2 title after defending champion Tito Rabat withdrew injured ahead of Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix.
Rabat injured his left arm in a training crash on Monday and withdrew after completing eight laps in Friday’s first practice at Motegi.
“There was little pain, but I just didn’t have the power in the injured arm needed to cope with the hard braking areas here at Motegi,” the Spaniard, who is moving up to MotoGP next season, said in a statement.
”To continue this weekend would have made no sense. The championship is gone and second place is not worth the risk of crashing again and making the injury worse.
“I am disappointed we weren’t able to fight to the end, but congratulations to Johann Zarco on the championship. He’s ridden a faultless season and will be a worthy champion.”
Kalex rider Zarco leads Rabat in the championship by 78 points with a total of 75 still to be won in the three races after Japan.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Amlan Chakraborty