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Oct 7, 2018

MotoGP: Race Results From Chang International Circuit In Thailand (Updated)

Chang International Circuit.

PTT Thailand Grand Prix

FIM MotoGP World Championship

Chang International Circuit

Buriram, Thailand

October 7, 2018

Race Results (all on Michelin tires):

1. Marc Marquez, Spain (Honda), 26 laps, Total Race Time 39:55.722

2. Andrea Dovizioso, Italy (Ducati), -0.115 second

3. Maverick Vinales, Spain (Yamaha), -0.270 

4. Valentino Rossi, Italy (Yamaha), -1.564 seconds

5. Johann Zarco, France (Yamaha), -2.747

6. Alex Rins, Spain (Suzuki), -3.023

7. Cal Crutchlow, UK (Honda), -6.520

8. Alvaro Bautista, Spain (Ducati), -6.691

9. Danilo Petrucci, Italy (Ducati), -9.944

10. Jack Miller, Australia (Ducati), -11.077

11. Andrea Iannone, Italy (Suzuki), -15.488

12. Hafizh Syahrin, Malaysia (Yamaha), -17.691

13. Aleix Espargaro, Spain (Aprilia), -21.413

14. Franco Morbidelli, Italy (Honda), -22.802

15. Bradley Smith, UK (KTM), -23.628

16. Scott Redding, UK (Aprilia), -23.804

17. Karel Abraham, Czech Republic (Ducati), -32.507

18. Xavier Simeon, Belgium (Ducati), -37.216

19. Jordi Torres, Spain (Ducati), -39.204

20. Thomas Luthi, Switzerland (Honda), -39.421

21. Pol Espargaro, Spain (KTM), -53.388

22. Takaaki Nakagami, Japan (Honda), -2 laps, crash

23. Dani Pedrosa, Spain (Honda), -8 laps, DNF, crash

24. Jorge Lorenzo, Spain (Ducati), DNS


World Championship Point Standings (after 14 of 18 races):

1. Marquez, 271 points

2. Dovizioso, 194

3. Rossi, 172

4. Vinales, 146

5. Lorenzo, 130

6. Crutchlow, 128

7. Petrucci, 126

8. Zarco, 123

9. Iannone, 113

10. Rins, 102

11. Pedrosa, 87

12. Miller, 74

13. Bautista, 72

14. Tito Rabat, 35

15. Morbidelli, 33

16. TIE, Aleix Espargaro/Pol Espargaro, 32

18. Syahrin, 28

19. Smith, 19

20. Nakagami, 18

21. Redding, 12

22. Mika Kallio, 6

23. Abraham, 5

24. Michele Pirro, 1



More, from a press release issued by Monster Yamaha Tech 3:

Fantastic fifth by Zarco in Buriram - Syahrin fights back with top rookie result

With an incredible strong performance Monster Yamaha Tech3 star Johann Zarco fought back to the top 5 in today’s scorching first ever Thailand Grand Prix. Starting from the third row of the grid, the fast Frenchman was quickly inside the fight for the top. Although he got passed later during the race, he fought back very strong to catch the fifth position on the final lap and eventually finish as the best independent rider.

Likewise Hafizh Syahrin showed an amazing performance at the hot Chang International Circuit. Launching his 15th MotoGP race from P18, he found an impressive rhythm after the first laps and passed one opponent after another. The Malaysian newcomer to the premier class kept his fast lap times until the finish line to earn the laurels for the best rookie, plus four important points in the championship.

Johann Zarco

Position: 5th – Championship: 8th – Points: 123

“It’s a track I like. The test has already been good in February. During the race weekend I was struggling, as I found it difficult to have a good pace, but in the race finally I was not that bad as I was thinking. I could enjoy it and was able to stick with the front, but still there was a gap in acceleration, so you need to compensate this, but when you try to catch them on the brake, you easily do a mistake and it was pretty difficult. I had to fight with Viñales in the beginning, but did a mistake and then I had to fight to catch back up. The pace was good. Then I saw Rins, I could push even more and overtook Crutchlow, plus Pedrosa crashed, so it was a tough race. It was difficult for me, but I think it was also difficult for them and at the end, I was fighting with Rins, who was in front of me. I was feeling good enough to catch him, but I knew that I had to stay focussed to don’t do any mistake. Finally, he went a little bit wide and I could go inside in corner nine to safe the fifth position. I’m pretty happy, because I’m not far from the winner and first independent is very good for the championship overall.”

Hafizh Syahrin

Position: 12th – Championship: 18th – Points: 28

“I’m really happy to be back in the points. In the beginning of the weekend, FP1 until Qualifying, I was always in P18, so I felt a bit disappointed to myself, but I never gave up. I was really working hard with the team and they believed in me, which is what I needed. In the beginning of the race, my bike was overheating. The oil temperature was too hot and I didn’t feel the power of the bike. I tried to understand and try to think what I can do, so I decided not to use any slipstream because the bike was so hot. So, I first passed Nakagami and thought I can catch up with Morbidelli, I passed him and then I tried to keep the rhythm. I was really consistent. But still, I need to work hard in the next rounds and try to get closer to Morbidelli again. Now we made two points on him, but it’s still five to go, so we have to try to be in front of him for the rest of the season. Now we start to believe in our capacity, the bike worked well, I chose the right tyre and overall, we were working very well. I’m truly happy.”

Hervé PONCHARAL

Team Manager

“What a race here in Buriram for the Thai Grand Prix! After what we saw in Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP, I really wouldn’t understand if the Thai crowd doesn’t love this sport. I think it was an incredible day, an incredible and mad crowd, which is an unbelievable feeling. For Monster Yamaha Tech3, we didn’t really know what to expect here. There was a lot of concern about the track conditions, the heat on the track and the tyre was a bit of a worry for everyone. Johann bravely decided to take a medium front, which was the softer option compared to most of his opponents and at the end of the race that paid off. The lap time never dropped. He had a great start, was right in front with the group, unfortunately he had a little bit of a moment touching Maverick (Viñales) in turn one, where he lost a full second on the leading group and then slowly by slowly, him, Dani (Pedrosa) and Alex (Rins) caught back on the front, but Johann was behind. Then Dani made a mistake and you could see that he was clearly closing. Cal (Crutchlow) was slowing down and finally we didn’t know if we could have the possibility to pass Alex in the last sector of the last lap, but he made it. A top 5 is an unbelievable result, very close to the leaders and Yamaha was in three, four and five, so we were right behind the factory guys, plus the best independent rider, which is quite a lot time it didn’t happen and the independent championship between Johann, Cal and Danilo (Petrucci) is very close. It’s really exciting and I’m very happy for Johann and the whole team as well, because recently we went through some tough times and we know that a positive result brings a lot of positive spirit and a lot of the result is in the rider’s mind. So, Johann is leaving Thailand for a week off before Japan with a positive frame of mind, which is very important. On the other side of the garage, Hafizh had a bad start, but showed an unbelievable recovery. He was lapping really fast, I was impressed. He decided to go hard – hard like the big boys and made it work. He passed all of his main opponents and just to die on the rear wheel of Andrea Iannone. His race was honestly one of the best the whole year. It was a bit of struggle in Misano and Aragon and we didn’t know what to expect, but he showed us that we shouldn’t worry about the future. He’s learning a lot, his physical condition was great and without a small technical issue on his equipment I think there was a small possibility to end up ahead of Iannone. At the end of the day we are happy, our two guys made a great race and also very big congratulations to Hafizh and the entire Monster Yamaha Tech3 crew. Now we have one week before Japan, but if the show is the same there, it’s going to be another exciting week. Meanwhile, we are packing as happy guys.”




More, from a press release issued by Aprilia Gresini Racing:

ALEIX ESPARGARÓ IN THE POINTS IN THE GP OF THAILAND

The risky choice of the soft rear tyre paid off for Aleix Espargaró, who finished in the points, the third time in a row for the Spanish rider and particularly significant because it was earned on one of the most difficult tracks for the RS-GP.

Aleix skilfully managed his Aprilia's grip, maintaining contact with the top 10 in the early stage of the race and doing his fastest lap on the fifteenth, just 5 tenths behind the leading time.

Scott Redding took advantage of an excellent start where he gained 7 positions during the first lap. The British rider then rode a consistent race, just missing the points zone by a few tenths, but expressing satisfaction after the race in terms of his feeling with the RS-GP on the Thai track.

ALEIX ESPARGARO'

"The soft tyre, in my opinion, was the best possible choice today. I discussed it at length yesterday with the team and with the Michelin technicians. There were some doubts on duration and, on the final laps, I actually did prefer to maintain my position without risking. In any case, I think that I achieved as much as was possible today on this track that is definitely one of the most difficult on the calendar for us. Thirteenth place and two points cannot be fully satisfying. We need to improve, and we are well aware of our weak points.

SCOTT REDDING

"To be honest, I am happy with the race today. On the first turn I didn't took any particularly high risk, maintaining my usual braking point, but I managed to close the line well and immediately gain a few positions. Overall, the bike worked well today. I didn't have any particular difficulties, despite the truly demanding conditions. We struggled in qualifying, but this morning in the Warm Up session we managed to find an improvement which will hopefully help me in the upcoming races as well."



More, from a press release issued by Angel Nieto Team:

BAUTISTA RETURNS TO TOP 10 WITH BIG FIGHTBACK

Ángel Nieto Team rider finishes eighth in Thailand after dropping back to fifteenth in early stages

The MotoGP World Championship made its bow in Thailand in front of 100,000 fans at Buriram, where Marc Márquez moved to within striking distance of another title with a victory that takes him 77 points clear at the top with four rounds remaining. Márquez can wrap it up by finishing ahead of Andrea Dovizioso in Japan, after another race-long duel with the Italian today that saw six overtakes by the Spaniard on the final four laps alone. Dovizioso was only able to respond to five of them, the sixth coming on the exit of the final corner as Márquez took the tighter line and powered to victory. Just behind them Maverick Viñales claimed third place and returned to the podium for the first time since Germany.

Álvaro Bautista has only finished outside the top ten on two occasions since Jerez, both down to crashes, and he maintained his consistent form in the Grand Prix of Thailand. The Ángel Nieto Team rider started from twelfth on the grid but lost positions in the opening corners and found himself with work to do from fifteenth. The Spaniard then made several bold moves and set a pace that for much of the race was quicker than that of the leaders, coming through to take eighth at the flag and close the gap to twelfth in the championship to just two points. Karel Abraham launched from seventeenth on the grid and held firm for the opening laps, before front-end issues cost him a couple of positions. The Czech rider held a consistent pace and with a crash for Dani Pedrosa and a pass on Pol Espargaró he returned to his original starting position.

12th Álvaro Bautista: “We finish in Thailand with eighth place but just six seconds down on the winner, which is more important. It was about the start, when I touched with Morbidelli a few times and lost a lot of ground. For the rest of the race our lap times were competitive so let’s see if we can keep this going in the next races. Along with the team we made a step forward in Aragón and also here, with some fine tuning of the set-up, but we don’t have many more cards up our sleeve. To finish in the top ten is already a good result so let’s see what the next few races bring.”

17th Karel Abraham: “With the heat reflection from the ground it was horribly, horribly hot out there. Normally I don’t use the drinking system but luckily this race I did. In the race I think my start was very good, but unfortunately from the warm up this morning we had an issue with the front end shaking at the end of the straight and this makes the braking pads loose and when you go for the brakes there is nothing there, so you have to pump the brakes. It caught me by surprise a couple of times and I ran completely wide, fortunately not into the gravel but off the track, and I lost a lot. I lost contact with the group around me and then I was behind Pol and every time I got behind him to maybe make a pass I had the shake and had to roll off the throttle. I stayed in contact with him and in the last part of the race I think he had a technical problem because he waved me past. That was the most difficult part of the race because I had eight or ten laps riding on my own. The front was locking but I had to keep pushing to stay clear of the guys behind me, so mentally it was difficult and of course physically too. I was really happy to see the chequered flag. We finished the race and take the experience to Japan. We go there in a good mood to fight for the points.”



More, from a press release issued by Red Bull KTM:

BRADLEY SMITH BATTLES HARD FOR LAST POINT IN THAI GRAND PRIX AS OLIVEIRA & FOGGIA ON PODIUM

RACE 15th Rd. MotoGP 2018 – Chang International Circuit (THA)

Red Bull KTM Factory Racing Team defied the stifling heat of the Chang International Circuit at Buriram to complete the Grand Prix of Thailand – MotoGP’s first visit to the country – with Bradley Smith scoring 15th position with his KTM RC16. Pol Espargaro successfully reached the chequered flag after his recent collarbone surgery. In Moto2 respectively Moto3 Miguel Oliveira & Dennis Foggia finished both on the podium in second and third place.

MotoGP

The fourteenth round of nineteen in 2018 MotoGP dropped into Thailand and opened the first of four events that will take place in the month of October, also visiting Japan, Australia and Malaysia. The flat and twisty Chang International Circuit was a layout that the series had visited just once before. The pre-season test took place in markedly cooler conditions compared to the sizzling climate that many eager race fans braved to see Grand Prix’s finest.

The 26 lap race rounded the 4.6km trajectory, distinctive for its three vast straights connecting the first, second and third corners before the course starts to wind on itself. Tyre choice was critical for resisting the duration of the sprint at full race speed.

Setting off from 15th position Bradley Smith made his customary bright start and sat on the fringes of the top ten. He circulated with Aleix Espargaro and Franco Morbidelli for company until he faced stiff opposition from Scott Redding in the last few laps. The Brit eventually managed to hold off his countryman to gather 15th position – just over twenty seconds from the stunning race climax between Marc Marquez, Andrea Dovizioso and Maverick Viñales – and capture MotoGP points for the seventh time this season.

Pol Espargaro, still in the comeback throes after surgery on his collarbone, was close to Smith by the middle of the race and looked as though he might be able to make a play for that top fifteen but then ran out of energy by lap 22 and elected to bring the his KTM RC16 bike home. He finished in 21st and grateful for the race mileage with a view towards more improvement in Japan.

Smith: “It was a bit like Aragon where we had good one lap pace with the soft tyres but in the race with the Hard option we are struggling a little bit more. Again I had a good start and reached P10 in the beginning. I learned from being around the other guys and we seem to be having the same problems. It will be good to make some more analysis this week and before we go to Japan. I think we will be able to find some conclusions and answers. I had a fun little battle with Scott (Redding) in the final laps and it was strange to be fighting so hard for the last point but that’s how competitive it is inside MotoGP at the moment; it is not easy to get that point. Japan next and we know it is a hard braking track and we have a lot of acceleration so we need to set up the bike in the right way. It’s a track I like with high-grip so I hope we might be able to use some of the softer compounds there.”

Espargaro: “I arrived to the first corner and made a small mistake under braking but then I started to find my rhythm and was catching the group ahead with my teammate and brother. I reached a point where I was finished and could not push anymore. It was quite a good comeback. For sure I’m not happy with the result but it is good to be back and in Japan I think I will be close to 100%.”

Mike Leitner (Team Manager MotoGP): “We missed Pol here during the two day test in the spring and this was not great for our development: we felt that this weekend. Bradley had some acceptable sessions in practice and had a good race: 23 seconds behind the winner is not a disaster but of course everybody wants more. For Pol he was good in the morning with the lap-time but we knew it would be hard for him to ‘survive’ for long in these hot conditions and he did well for three-quarters before he couldn't push anymore. I think he has to look forward to Japan and hopefully we will have two fit riders there where we can work towards a better result.”

Moto2

The Moto2 category saw Red Bull KTM Ajo’s Miguel Oliveira and Brad Binder finished 3rd and 4th respectively. At one stage of the 24 lap race were both on the podium with their KTM Moto2 bike but lost a spot to the charging Luca Marini. Victory for Pecco Bagnaia meant that Oliveira conceded 5 more points in the tussle for the championship and the gap to the Italian now rests at 28 points.

Oliveira: "Honestly, today I would have liked to have got the victory and I pushed hard from the start to get it, but today it was just not possible. On some laps I felt that I was struggling with the front brake; the bike skidded a lot both when entering and exiting corners, so it seems that the extra heat on track today didn't help. In the end, we claimed another podium and 16 points for the World Championship standings. There are still four races remaining, and at some of them we have achieved great results. We will not give up."

Moto3

Marco Bezzecchi launched from Pole Position in Moto3 but the Italian could not enter the mix for victory. Instead acclaim went to countryman Dennis Foggia; the SKY Racing Team VR46 rider finished third and celebrated his very first Grand Prix podium with the KTM RC250 GP.

MotoGP continues on its international trek and will take a slow move across to Japan and the Motegi circuit for the sixteenth round of nineteen in two weeks time.

Next Race: October 21, 2018 – Twin Ring Motegi (JAP)

Results MotoGP Chang International Circuit 2018

1. Marc Marquez (ESP), Honda, 39:55.722 min

2. Andrea Dovizioso (ITA), Ducati, +0.115 sec

3. Maverick Vianles (ESP), Yamaha, +0.270

4. Valentino Rossi (ITA), Yamaha, +1.564

5. Johann Zarco (FRA), Yamaha, +2.747

KTM

15. Bradley Smith (GBR), KTM, +23.628

21. Pol Espargaro (ESP), KTM, +53.388

Standings MotoGP 2018 after 15 of 19 rounds

1. Marquez, 271 points

2. Dovizioso, 194

3. Rossi, 172

4. Vinales, 146

5. Jorge Lorenzo (ESP), Ducati, 130

KTM

17. Espargaro, 32

19. Smith, 19

22. Mika Kallio (FIN), KTM, 6

Results Moto2 Chang International Circuit 2018

1. Francesco Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, 39:00.009 min

2. Luca Marini (ITA), Kalex, +1.512 sec

3. Miguel Oliveira (POR), KTM, +1.651

4. Brad Binder (RSA), KTM, +1.808

5. Fabio Quartararo (FRA), Speed Up, +6.260

KTM

7. Icer Lecuona (ESP), KTM, +15.290

Standings Moto2 2018 after 15 of 19 rounds

1. Bagnaia (ITA), Kalex, 259 points

2. Oliveira, 231

3. Binder, 157

4. Lorenzo Baldassarri (ITA), Kalex, 132

5. Alex Marquez (ESP), Kalex, 126

Results Moto3 Chang International Circuit 2018

1. Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, 38:10.789 min

2. Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA), Honda, +0.135 sec

3. Dennis Foggia (ITA), KTM, +0.466

4. Jorge Martin (ESP), Honda, +0.980

5. Gabriel Rodrigo (ESP), KTM, +1.084

KTM

6. Vincent Perez (ESP), KTM, +1.232

7. Nicolo Bulega (ITA), KTM, +1.312

8. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, +1.440

10. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), KTM, +1.718

DNF Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, +19 laps

Standings Moto3 2018 after 15 of 19 rounds

1. Martin, 204 points

2. Marco Bezzecchi (ITA), KTM, 178

3. Di Giannantonio (ITA), Honda, 175

4. Enea Bastianini (ITA), Honda, 133

5. Aron Canet (ESP), Honda, 118

KTM

7. Rodrigo, 108

8. Jakub Kornfeil (CZE), KTM, 102

9. Marcos Ramirez (ESP), KTM, 86

10. Andrea Migno (ITA), KTM, 76

23. Darryn Binder (RSA), KTM, 28



More, from a press release issued by Team Suzuki ECSTAR:

SIXTH PLACE FOR RINS AT INAUGURAL THAI GRAND PRIX

Alex Rins: 6th (+ 3.023)

Andrea Iannone: 11th (+ 15.488)

• Rins sticks close to lead group for 6th place.

• Iannone keeps hold of 11th spot in second group.

• A good first experience in Thailand for the team.

The first ever MotoGP race at Chang International Circuit in Buriram was an intense one dominated by fierce heat and tricky tyre choices.

When the lights went out in front of the huge crowd made up of 100,245 passionate fans, Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins were expecting a difficult 26 lap race. But despite an unlucky launch off the line for the Italian, both riders quickly slotted into the Top 10. Iannone worked well to mix it up with the second group but he struggled a little with tyre wear as the race went on, taking 11th place at the line. Rins was able to place himself on the back of the lead group and consistently work his way to higher positions. With less than 10 laps to go he had put himself in an excellent 5th, a position he held until the final lap. The young Spaniard therefore finished in 6th place, collecting another important experience in MotoGP racing.

Ken Kawauchi - Technical Manager

“After a very positive race in Aragon, I have to say this race was slightly disappointing. Alex was able to get within the top group, and despite his start position not being good, his pace was good. Finally he lost 5th place on the last lap and that was a pity, but he did well. Andrea didn’t get a very good start and lost some positions, and with this race being a very tight one and everybody so close on times, it was very difficult to overtake. Andrea’s pace this weekend has been very good but unfortunately we couldn’t turn it into a great result. The next round is Motegi, our home race, so we’ll check the data from here and try to come back stronger there.”

Davide Brivio - Team Manager

“As we expected, it was quite a tough race and Alex managed it well. But unfortunately I think we paid the price with our starting position because he had to push harder than the others at the beginning of the race, so at the end of the race his tyres were more stressed. But he took a Top 6 with good overtaking maneuvers and good recovery from grid and clever tyre management despite having to push from the start. Andrea struggled more and he also had to stress the tyres due to a difficult start, so by the end he had less capability to fight and stay close to the front and he finished in 11th. We knew it would be a difficult race and we’ve come out of it OK, so we look forward to Japan and hope to continue our positive trend.”

Alex Rins

“I pushed a lot from the beginning to try and reduce the gap to the front group and I lost a lot of time fighting with the other riders so I stressed a lot the tyre because I was pushing hard. Towards the end of the race I knew I needed to settle down and I realised I could take 5th or 6th which was not so bad. In the end I just lost the 5th place but it was not so bad and I’m quite happy. Things are going in a good way and we head to Japan next, which is a positive place for me and for the team.”

Andrea Iannone

“I had a really bad start so I had to recover a lot as I lost many positions on the first few laps. This was really unfortunate because I had good pace but it was difficult after the start. In any case, I managed to get into the second group but it was really hard for me to overtake the other riders, especially on the braking zones. We look forward to going to Japan, it’s difficult to predict what will happen there, but usually it’s a positive track for us. We have speed and that is the most important thing.”



More, from a press release issued by Alma Pramac Racing:

Thailand Grand Prix - The Race

#ThaiGP Race. Double Top 10 finish for Alma Pramac Racing: Petrux and Jack P9 and P10 respectively

Another double Top 10 for Alma Pramac Racing that confirms itself widely in first place of classification reserved for Independent Teams (just 15 points from fourth place overall).

Danilo Petrucci wins 7 points (126 in total, new career record) that allow him to remain firmly in the race both for the First Independent Rider (Crutchlow 128, Zarco 123) and for the fifth position in the World Championship (Lorenzo 130). Six precious points also for Jack Miller (74) but the Top 10 of the classification is still far away (Rins 102).

Petrux's start is not the best but already on the second lap, he overtakes Rins to recover the 9th position. The feeling with the rear tyre is not at the top but Danilo continues to push and on lap 17 he manages to pass Jack Miller for P8. A little mistake on lap 20 caused him to lose three positions but Danilo didn't get discouraged and in the last laps, he overtook both Iannone and Jack to finish 9th.

Jack gets off a good start and is 7th after the first three corners. The race pace is good in the first 6 laps then the consumption of the rear tire makes him lose contact with the leading group. On lap 9 he fights hard with Petrux but he loses two positions. Jack remains focused and with five laps to go from the end he tries to chase Iannone for P9, finishing in Top 10.

P9 – Danilo Petrucci

"It was a pretty difficult race for me. Unfortunately starting from the third row penalized me especially in the first laps. With this temperature, it was important to manage the race but I always had to push. In the end, I managed to pass both Iannone and Jack but I lost some points on Zarco and Crutchlow. The goal for Japan? The first thing is to do a good qualifying".

P10 - Jack Miller

"It was a good race and if I have to be honest I had a lot of fun. Unfortunately, I struggled with the rear tyre right from the start, especially in the left-hand corners. Halfway through the race, I tried to get closer to the front group and then there was a good battle with Danilo, Iannone and Bautista. The temperature was really high: a good training for Malaysia".



More, from a press release issued by Movistar Yamaha:

MOVISTAR YAMAHA RETURN TO FORM WITH THAI GP PODIUM FIGHT

Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were in de midst of the action at the very first PTT Thailand Grand Prix, securing a strong third and fourth place respectively.

Buriram (Thailand), 7th October 2018

Nobody knew what to expect at the inaugural MotoGP race in Buriram, adding even more tension and excitement to the atmosphere on the starting grid, and the PTT Thailand Grand Prix certainly didn't disappoint. Movistar Yamaha MotoGP's Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi were fighting at the front of the field for the entire length of the 26-lap race. Ultimately, it was Viñales who secured a place on the podium, taking third, just ahead of Rossi who finished fourth.

Viñales started from fourth on the grid but lost two positions in the busy opening laps as all riders were vying for a place at the front of the rider field. Having settled in sixth position, the number 25 rider soon started to fight back. He reclaimed fifth position on lap 3, overtaking Johann Zarco, and picked up his pace to tag onto the leading group. The five front riders, including the Spaniard, soon broke away, but the threat from behind wasn‘t over just yet. On lap 11 the first three riders started to battle. This allowed the clever youngster to get into the mix, but it also meant that the pursuing field inched closer.

The pressure was on the Yamaha rider, but he wasn't buckling. As the first three riders tried to break away once more, the youngster quickly overtook Cal Crutchlow, and with seven laps remaining, he joined his teammate. A lap later he overtook the Doctor, giving himself a clear view of the leading duo. With three laps to go the fight for the win really kicked off. Viñales was lying in wait directly behind Andrea Dovizioso and Marc Marquez. Though he came just short of putting in a move, he was mighty close as he finished in third place, just 0.270s from first and 0.155s from second.

Rossi had a flying start from P2 on the grid and held the position firmly through the first corner. He was on the attack right from the get-go, putting Marquez under pressure, especially in sector 4 before they crossed the line for the very first time. The Spaniard was desperate to shake off the Doctor, but was unsuccessful. The Italian kept running the pace and took over the lead with a brilliant move on lap 5, making the grand stands erupt.

The nine-time World Champion held the number one spot until lap 11, when Dovizioso and Marquez pushed him back to third. With seven laps remaining, he was joined by his teammate. Though he had to let Viñales pass one lap later, he kept shadowing the frontrunners' every move and closed right back in on the final lap. However, an unsuccessful lunge in the final corner meant he remained in fourth place, as he took the chequered flag 1.564s from first.

Today's results see Rossi hold third position in the championship standings with a 99-point margin to first and a 22-point gap to second. Viñales climbed up to fourth place with a 26-point gap to his teammate. Yamaha holds third place in the Constructor Championship after the race in Thailand, with an 88-point margin to first, while the Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team are also in third position in the team standings with a 40-point gap to first and a 6-point margin to second.

The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP Team will be back in action at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit in two weeks' time for the Motul Grand Prix of Japan, held from October 19th – 21st.

MASSIMO MEREGALLI

TEAM DIRECTOR

It was great to see both Maverick and Vale fight at the front in today's race. It has been a positive GP weekend for both, especially considering the challenges we faced previously at this circuit and also in the previous round. The team pulled through and has done a great job. Maverick took a good third place, with Valentino not far behind in fourth. It's a shame our strong pace couldn't be rewarded by having our two riders on the podium after such a strong weekend by both of them, but we can be satisfied about the step we made. This is a good confidence boost before the usual overseas triple-header without a break in between the rounds, which starts in two weeks. The first one up is the race in Japan, which of course is another important round for Yamaha as it's our home GP. It will be crucial to keep the momentum we gained this weekend going during this busy period.

MAVERICK VIÑALES

I was stronger than I expected in the race. I got stuck behind Cal and fought a little with Valentino, and after that I felt really good. The bike was working well, so I'm very pleased about that. For sure I'm happy to finish so close to the top, to be on the podium, and to be able to recover nearly one second at the end, all under difficult conditions in which we used to suffer. I'm honestly very pleased, because the work we've done this weekend was done in a good way. It was hot and slippery, but we were still there, so we have to take this race in Thailand as an example and work even harder for the next race. I had a lot of confidence in the front, especially on braking. Let's see if we can manage this again for the next races. If we can do it again in Japan, it will mean we have improved. It's important to stay consistent, precise, and focused.

VALENTINO ROSSI

During this weekend we improved a lot. Unfortunately, I wasn't strong enough for the podium, but it was still a much better race than we had at the last three or four rounds. I always stayed at the front, in all the sessions, I started from the front row - we were competitive, and it was a good weekend, but it's still not enough. Our main rivals were a bit faster and we need to understand if this track helped us or if, in reality, we made a step.



More, from a press release issued by Reale Avintia Racing:

Simeon and Torres battle the heat at the Thai GP

MotoGP GP of Thailand – Chang International Circuit

Reale Avintia Racing riders Xavier Simeon and Jordi Torres took 19th and 20th place at the first ever Thai Grand Prix on the Chang International Circuit today. The most difficult mission was just to finish the race due to the extreme tropical heat, with air temperatures soaring to more than 32 degrees and the track surface heating up to more than 50 degrees.

Xavier Simeon and Jordi Torres rode almost the entire race together. At times, Torres got close to his teammate, only for Simeon to pull away again and to manage the gap. In the end. Simeon crossed the line a little more than two seconds before Torres.

The next round of the MotoGP World Championship will take place in Japan in two weeks time. At Twin Ring Motegi, Simeon and Torres will have another opportunity to improve and to score their first points of the season.

Xavier Simeon | P19

“First of all, I have to admit that I did a bad start once again and I was not able to attack in the first few corners as I would have like to. But apart of that, the race was not so bad. I tried to keep a constant and fast rhythm, only that the rear tyre consumption on the left flank was more excessive than we expected and it was hard to manage tyre grip until the end. Nevertheless, I think the team did a great job over the weekend and we were able to take a big step. We couldn’t fight for points, because starting from the back always makes this a difficult task. But overall the weekend was quite positive and I think this was my best race so far this season.”

Jordi Torres | P20

“I think that the race was okay, because I was able to finish a really hard race in scorching hot conditions, with tyres that are vey different to the ones I’m used to and that wear in a completely different way. But more than anything, I had to learn how to manage fuel consumption, changing the engine mappings when I was signalled to do so from the pits, and to be smoother with the throttle…there were many new things and therefore, I wasn’t riding as smoothly as I would have liked to. I didn’t ride according to my talent, instead I was riding in a programmed way. As far as everything else goes,the race was okay, I amanged to show my front wheel to a couple of other riders, which had been my plan, and later I was able to hunt Xavi and get close to him. I just didn’t have the courage to show him my wheel as well.”



More, from a press release issued by Ducati Corse:

Andrea Dovizioso scores another podium finish with second place in the Thailand GP at Buriram

Andrea Dovizioso finished second at the end of an exciting Thailand Grand Prix, held today for the first time at the Buriram circuit in front of more than 100,000 spectators (a total of 222,535 over the weekend). The Ducati Team rider crossed the line in the runner-up slot after a thrilling scrap right down to the final corner with Marquez, who took the chequered flag just 0.115s ahead of his Italian rival.

Dovizioso, who powered away from the front row thanks to his third-quickest time in qualifying, stayed in third for the first four laps and then on lap 5 overtook Marquez together with Rossi to move up into second.

After grabbing the lead on lap 11, Andrea stayed in control of the race until the start of the final lap, engaging in an exciting battle with Marquez made up of passes and counter-passes, but he was overtaken by the Spanish rider at Turn 5 and despite a courageous attack under braking at the final corner, he had to settle for second place overall.

For the Ducati Team’s Italian rider, this was the seventh podium of the season, and the fifth successive one since the Czech Grand Prix held at Brno at the start of August.

Thanks to today’s result, Dovizioso consolidates his second place in the championship, increasing his advantage over Rossi to 22 points.

The next round of the championship will be the Grand Prix of Japan at Motegi from 19-21 October.

Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd

“I’m very happy with this second place, even though I lost out on the win right at the final corner. Unfortunately, I didn’t have much idea about Marquez’s strengths and weaknesses because I was almost always in the lead: I tried to counter his pass at Turn 5 but lost a bit of ground and even though I still managed to make up some at the final corner, I wasn’t close enough to pass him. Pity, but for me this second place is worth more than the one in Aragón because on a track with these characteristics last year we would never have been able to fight for the win and so I’m satisfied with the improvements that we continue to make in every race. Together with my engineers, we always manage to understand something new, we’re working very well and now this gives us the chance of fighting for the win almost in every race.”



More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Castrol:

CRUTCHLOW SETTLES FOR SEVENTH IN THAILAND

LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow claimed seventh place in the first-ever Thailand Grand Prix at the Buriram International Circuit. The Briton looked well placed to challenge for the podium in the first half of the race, but the drop of the tyre grip undermined his push in the latter stages and he settled for securing valuable championship points.

Crutchlow – whose RC213V carried the famous Castrol green and red livery in Sunday’s race – made a good start and battled with Marc Marquez, Valentino Rossi and Andrea Dovizioso at the front of the field early on. However, in the second part of the race, his rear tyre quickly lost condition and left the LCR rider unable to stay with the leading group. Despite the final result, the 32-year-old remains upbeat about the team’s chances in the forthcoming flyaway races and he is still leading the Independent Team Rider classification with 128 points.

Cal Crutchlow –7th

“Today was a great spectacle and a good show again to be fighting at the front for some laps of the Grand Prix race. Unfortunately, I couldn’t keep the pace of the front guys, I did my best, but after 15 laps I felt a big drop in the rear tyre which meant I was pushing the front tyre and the pressure went very high in the front of our bike. And I wasn’t able to manage the grip very well”.

“Our team did a good job to give me a bike to be competitive this weekend, it was important for the championship points to finish the race and be there. It’s one of my worst finishes of the season - to be six seconds off the win and in seventh place is disappointing because I’ve been six seconds off and finished on the podium before in MotoGP. But now we look forward to the next three fly-aways, Honda’s home race in Japan, and we’ll try our best in them and I think the tracks will suit me better.”



More, from a press release issued by LCR Honda Idemitsu:

DEMANDING DAY FOR NAKAGAMI IN THAILAND

It proved a forgettable first-ever Thailand Grand Prix for LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider Takaaki Nakagami as he finished 22nd at the Buriram International Circuit on Sunday. Having qualified on the fifth row, the Japanese rookie saw his hopes of a good result disappear after an early fall and, despite rejoining, could do little more than just finish the race.

Having lost some places after the start, Taka was looking to make progress on the third lap but lost the front end of his RC213V at the final corner of the circuit and slid out. With his bike damaged from the crash, the LCR man was left to lap at the back of the field but showed perseverance to see the chequered flag.

Takaaki Nakagami – 22nd

“Of course I’m disappointed, unfortunately there were some easy mistakes. I made a mistake on the brakes in the last corner and was too fast into the apex and lost grip. I lost the front and crashed, after that I rejoined and just tried to finish the race".

“It was difficult because after the crash the handlebar was not in the correct position and the foot peg was not where it is normally. All I could do was finish the race, I’m really sorry to the team. Let’s focus on my home GP in two weeks and I’ll never stop trying to improve.”



More, from a press release issued by Repsol Honda:

Masterful Marquez takes first Thai win; Pedrosa crashes out after a strong performance

It was another master-class race for Championship leader Marc Marquez, who took the first MotoGP win ever in Thailand in front of a cheering, enthusiast crowd of more than 100.000 spectators. Marc’s seventh victory of the season is also the 68th of his career, putting him equal with Jorge Lorenzo as the fifth-most winning rider across all classes. It was a hat-track weekend for the Spaniard, who earned pole position, set the lap record and earned the victory.

Marc’s win came down to the last corner of the last lap, thanks to a thrilling battle with title contender Andrea Dovizioso. The points scenario makes the next round, the Grand Prix of Japan, the first match point for the MotoGP Title.

On the other side of the garage, a crash at turn five on lap 18 was a true shame for Dani Pedrosa, as it ended what until then had been his best race of the season; Pedrosa was charging forward from the back, with hopes of launching himself into the podium battle.

Marc Marquez 93

WINNER

“Of course I’m very, very happy today because it’s the first time I’ve beaten Dovi in this way. We were very equal, and my strategy was to try and attack in order to open a gap and avoid having it come down to the last lap. But Dovi had a very good pace and I was struggling with the front tyre, so I wasn’t able. Instead, I just tried to manage the tyres and stick to him. Honestly, I wasn’t so confident going into the final lap because I’ve lost many head-to-head finishes with him in the past. But this time, we swapped roles—I used Dovi’s style and Dovi used Marquez’s style!—and that worked to overtake him on the corner exit. It was a great feeling to race in front of all the Thai fans, who cheered and supported all of us riders equally, really enjoying the sport and making me feel good over the whole weekend. I’m really thankful to them. Now the first match ball will be in Japan, which is the most important race for Honda as it’s their only home Grand Prix. Of course we’ll try our best there, but if it’s not possible, the main target is still to achieve the title at some point.”

Dani Pedrosa 26

DNF

“Today’s result was a very disappointing one as we had a real chance to fight for the podium. I lost the front when I was pushing hard and getting closer to the front. I hit a bump and couldn’t save it. The crucial moment was the start, as first I had an issue with the clutch and soon after that, Miller took the inside into the corner too fast and pushed us both wide so that we lost ground. As we had all been forced to use the hard rear, I struggled to warm the tyres up over the first three laps, and I didn't have good grip. It took a while to get into a fast rhythm. The positive thing is that we had a strong race after that, catching the front group. We had a good chance but we didn’t make it. Hopefully the next race will be better.”



More, from a press release issued by Michelin:

MICHELIN AND MARQUEZ CONQUER THE THAI HEAT AT BURIRAM’S FIRST GRAND PRIX

Michelin and the whole MotoGP™ paddock had to tackle a new venue during this weekend’s inaugural PTT Thailand Grand Prix at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram and intense heat which dramatically affected track conditions.

Michelin had previously only visited the 4,554m Thai circuit for a pre-season test in February of this year and track temperatures had reached a high of 49°C, but today’s race got underway with the track thermometer reading 56°C, a huge increase that all had to try to manage. The extreme temperatures had not been forecast, because it is monsoon season in Thailand and from local knowledge the heat would have subsided at this time of the year. With this in mind Michelin chose a range of tyres before the season started – in-line with the regulations – that it believed would be ideally suited to the new venue. With the high temperatures the track had very little grip and this caused a lot of spinning, causing the Michelin technicians to advise all the riders to use the hard rear option MICHELIN Power Slick, which was heeded by the majority of the field, with just Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) choosing the soft version. With just a handful of riders opting for the medium front and the rest taking the hard, this still meant four of the six different compounds were in use during today’s 26-lap race, despite the conditions.

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) began from pole this afternoon and got the holeshot to lead after the first-lap. He held this position for the first four-laps before Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) passed him to take the lead, a ranking he maintained for the following six-laps. The next protagonist to hit the front was Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) and he tried to gap the rest of the field by setting a number of fast and consistent laps. As the race wore on, Marquez closed him down and another classic battle ensued between the two. The lead changed hands many times through an exciting final few laps, before Marquez made a last corner manoeuvre stick and he took victory on-the-line from Dovizioso by just 0.115 seconds. Third was Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) as he secured the final podium place, making three different manufacturers in the top-three. Rossi crossed the line in fourth and Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) took fifth and the First Independent Rider position. Alex Rins (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR) was sixth, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) narrowly edged out the fast-finishing Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) for seventh, Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing) took the flag in ninth and his team-mate Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing) followed him home to round out the top-ten.

The range of Michelin tyres selected for this weekend featured specific rear tyres, purposefully created for the Buriram circuit, all seven options of front and rear tyres (there were two versions of the rear medium available to all), were tried and tested by most riders, but with the extreme temperature the hard rear was considered the best choice and this was completely in-line with the advice given by Michelin to all riders and teams. This decision produced an exciting spectacle and enabled all riders to battle for positions throughout the entire race in front of a huge crowd of 100,245 that packed the grandstands around this fantastic facility, making a very colourful and vibrant atmosphere for all concerned.

Michelin and the MotoGP paddock will now briefly return to their respective home bases before heading back to Asia ahead of the three-week fly-away tour to Japan, Australia and Malaysia, which begins with the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday 21st October.

Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team:

“Today has been a very good day for us because in the championship we have increased the advantage and will have the first match-point in Japan. Apart from that we worked really hard this weekend in the hot temperatures and difficult conditions. It was very extreme conditions on the track and Michelin had brought a different kind of rear tyre and we adjusted the set-up to work with these. This was a good way for them to work for these extreme conditions and tyres worked well for the whole race. Everyone was trying to manage their tyres, as we expected a drop in performance towards the end because the tyres were spinning a lot on the track that was almost 60° in parts. I am happy and I will enjoy the victory and try to fight for the podium when we get to Japan.”

Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:

“This has been a very complex and demanding weekend. The tyres have been under immense stress due to the very high temperatures we have had here this weekend. When we came for the test we were told it would be wet and cooler for the race, so we decided on the range of tyres accordingly, but it has been the complete opposite. The riders tried the whole choice of tyres throughout the practice sessions and we thoroughly analysed the performance and durability of all compounds and we gave advice to all teams and riders – as we do at every race – as to what our recommendation was. This guidance to use the hard rear proved to be the correct one as the race was exciting with consistent lap-times and a great battle between Marc and Andrea at the end. The tyres performed well all race and despite the intense heat and the excessive spinning this caused on an abrasive track, we are happy with the overall performance. It is never easy to decide on tyres so far in advance, especially for a track we haven’t raced at before, but with the data from this year we will certainly be in a stronger position to decide on the allocation for Buriram before the start of next season.

“I would like to congratulate the organisers for such a good event, it has been a pleasure to come to race in Thailand for the first time, the people have been great and today was a superb atmosphere, we are already looking forward to coming back next year!

“Finally. I’d also like to say thank-you to all the teams and riders for listening to our advice and taking the appropriate action to make the first visit here such a positive experience.”



More, from a press release issued by Dorna:

Turning tables in Thailand: mere tenths in it as the battle in Buriram goes down to the wire

Another duel to remember and this time the roles are reversed as Marquez emerges victorious

Breathtaking: a word that perfectly encapsulates the first ever PTT Thailand Grand Prix in which Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) emerged victorious to take another giant leap towards the 2018 MotoGP™ World Championship. The battle in Buriram went down to the wire between the Spaniard and second place Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), with Movistar Yamaha MotoGP’s Maverick Viñales claiming a valiant comeback podium in third.

It was Marquez who got the holeshot from pole as the lights went out, with Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP) tucked in behind his arch nemesis from P2 on the grid. Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) launched well from P5 to slot into third, before Dovizioso re-took P3 into Turn 3 as the front three in qualifying held station, spearheading the field into a high-speed game of chess at Chang International Circuit.

Everyone held position before Rossi got past Marquez on the run down to Turn 3, ‘The Doctor’ back up the sharp end and looking strong to control the pace. With tyre life a major factor in the soaring Thailand temperatures, no one wanted to force their hand. That was until Lap 11, when Rossi couldn’t get his M1 firing out the first corner and the Ducati of Dovi and Honda of Marquez swept past the nine-time World Champion – and the number 04 emerging in charge of controlling the 200mph freight train.

With laptimes fluctuating and a front group of eight now packed together, Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) was the man to lead Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) up to trail Viñales in fifth. It was only a matter of time before the pin was pulled, however, and with 11 laps to go, Dovizioso upped the pace. Marquez and Rossi stayed in touching distance, with fourth placed Crutchlow slipping back down the order from P4 to P7...

Then, however, laptimes slowed again as Viñales bridged the gap to the leading trio. Pedrosa crashed out at Turn 5 with eight laps remaining as he and Zarco got a whiff of a potential podium, the duo closing down the leaders by half a second on the previous lap, before the race then entered a critical stage at the front. Dovizioso and Marquez who started to fight it out for the lead and pull away, with Rossi then starting to lose touch as teammate Viñales moved through to get a front-row seat for another Ducati vs Honda battle. With four to go, Marquez played his first hand, but he braked deep into Turn 3 in the attempted pass and ran wide - allowing Dovizioso back through.

The move set the scene for a breathtaking final three laps in Buriram. On the same lap, Marquez sliced his way through at Turn 8, but Dovi snapped straight back at Turn 9 and it was déjà vu a lap later as the Repsol Honda grabbed the lead into Turn 8, but there was no way through for the Ducati this time at Turn 9. A pass into Turn 12 was made to stick heading onto the last lap, however, before the chosen corner for a Marquez assault proved to be Turn 5 – a great move from the six-time World Champion seeing Dovizioso unable to squeeze back under at Turn 6. This set us up for another final corner epic between the two.

Dovi got the run out Turn 11 to brake late into the final corner and get alongside Marquez, but the Italian couldn’t quite drop anchor quick enough – with a flash of orange cutting back underneath the Italian as Marquez did exactly what he'd been victim to in Austria in 2017, Motegi that same season and Qatar at the start of 2018. The Spaniard crossed the line just ahead, and the roles were reversed in perfect symmetry.

The two did have some company, however. Viñales was just 0.270 away from the win in third as he got back on the rostrum and almost managed to capitalise on the last corner drama, with Rossi coming home fourth as he faded slightly in the latter stages. Fellow M1 and leading Independent Team rider Zarco got the better of Rins to close out the top five, with Crutchlow ending the race seventh, finishing 0.171 ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team). The two Alma Pramac Racing riders completed the top ten – it was P9 for Danilo Petrucci and P10 for Jack Miller.

Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) couldn’t repeat his Aragon heroics and took P11, with Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) taking top rookie honours that saw the Malaysian return to form in P12 in his best finish since Le Mans. Aprilia Racing Team Gresini’s Aleix Espargaro crossed the line P13, the only rider to not run the hard rear tyre in the race, with Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) and Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) completing the points in P14 and P15 respectively.

A seventh win of the season draws Marquez level with the absent Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) on 68 Grand Prix wins, while it also gives him a magnificent chance to wrap the title up at Honda’s home round – Motegi. The 2017 Japanese GP was the scene of another iconic Marquez vs Dovizioso tussle...will we be treated to another sensational spectacle in two weeks’ time?

Find out at the Twin Ring Motegi from the 19th to 21st October.

MotoGP™ Race Results

1 - Marc Marquez (SPA) HONDA 39'55.722

2 - Andrea Dovizioso (ITA) DUCATI +0.115

3 - Maverick Viñales (SPA) YAMAHA +0.270

-

First Independent Team Rider

5 - Johann Zarco (FRA) YAMAHA +2.747


Magnificent seventh: Bagnaia unbeatable in Buriram

A seventh win of the season for the Championship leader as Marini beats Oliveria to P2 on the final lap

Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46) claimed a magnificent seventh win of 2018 at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix to claim the 800th Italian Grand Prix win, finishing ahead of teammate Luca Marini by 1.5 seconds after the latter got the better of Bagnaia’s title rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo) on the final lap. Teamwork makes the dream work in terms of the standings.

In Thailand, temperatures were soaring and so was the battle on track between the Moto2™ Championship protagonists, who were joined at the front by Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) in a proper dogfight. Uncharacteristically though, Bagnaia ran wide at Turn 12 on a couple of occasions and almost collected the rear of Oliveira as the trio ran in close into the tricky Turn 3, before Binder then lost control under braking into Turn 5, narrowly avoiding his teammate to drop to P3...tensions were running fairly high on circuit.

Bagnaia, however, had composed himself and started to reel in Oliveira after the Portuguese rider had been able to grab a half-second lead, and the Italian struck for P1 with 13 laps to go. It was then a case of the Italian finding his rhythm out front, slamming home two consecutive fastest laps to stretch the gap to over a second with 10 laps to go.

The lead slowly edged out to 1.5 seconds with four laps to go, and Marini was starting to look menacing in P4. Closing down Binder as he eyed his first podium finish since Austria, the Italian clawed the gap down to nothing with three to go and then made his move into Turn 12. The number 10 then locked his radar on Oliveira heading into the last lap.

Turn 3 saw the Portuguese rider run wide and Marini swept through, holding station to play the perfect wingman to teammate Bagnaia as the latter crossed the line to take his seventh win of the season. The team gained in their Championship and Bagnaia is now 28 points clear heading into the final four races of the year.

Binder eventually crossed the line fourth to finish just off the podium in another solid ride for the South African, with Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up) finishing in a somewhat lonely fifth place after an early battle with Marini. After looking strong across Free Practice and qualifying, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) picked up a P6 in Thailand, with Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors) claiming his first top ten since Austria in P7. Eighth was Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) in a career-best finish for the Japanese rider before he heads to his home GP at Motegi, with Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) and Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) completing the top ten at the Chang International Circuit.

Some famous names are missing from that list and it was a race of attrition for a few riders. There was first lap drama with Joan Mir (EG 0,0 Marc VDS), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Augusto Fernandez (Pons HP 40) going down at Turn 3 after Mir lost the front, leaving Schrötter and Fernandez with nowhere to go, and pole man Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP40) crashed out of contention at Turn 1. Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) had lost the front heading into Turn 5 two laps earlier; both pushing to keep tabs on the leading trio.

After a masterful ride, Bagnaia now takes charge of the intermediate class title race. However, with the trio of flyway races next and with Oliveira winning the final three races of 2017, the Championship certainly isn’t done and dusted. On to Japan we go, for more spectacular Moto2™ action in two weeks.

Moto2™ Race Results

1 - Francesco Bagnaia (ITA) KALEX 39'00.009

2 - Luca Marini (ITA) KALEX +1.512

3 - Miguel Oliveira (POR) KTM +1.651


Victory for 'Diggia' as Martin gains ground and Bezzecchi loses out

Italian claims second win of the season as Bezzecchi gets taken out by Bastianini at the final corner - and Martin takes a phenomenal fourth

Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) claimed his second career victory in what was an explosive Moto3™ race at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix. The Italian produced a stunning final lap to beat compatriot Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) into second as major drama unfolded at the last corner – with Enea Bastianini (Leopard Racing) taking out pole sitter and Championship contender Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP). That meant points leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) extended his lead with a phenomenal P4 finish despite serious struggles with the fitness of his left hand in Thailand.

The breathtaking action started from the word go as Bezzecchi got the perfect launch from pole to lead into the first corner, with Kazuki Masaki (RBA BOE Skull Rider) and Jaume Masia (Bester Capital Dubai) slotting in behind the Italian as the freight train thundered down into Turn 3. But despite his best efforts, Bezzecchi wasn’t able to make the break as the top 18 locked horns for a classic lightweight class battle. Di Giannantonio soon made his way to the front after being forced wide by the aggressive starting Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo), the South African looking strong before getting caught up in a tangle with Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team Moto3) with both riders going down on lap four. The battle raged on back on track as the race lead swapped and changed countless times, lap after lap, with Martin sitting patiently just inside the points with 10 laps gone.

In typical Moto3™ style, with just six laps to go in Thailand, 1.8 seconds covered the top 18 – the winner being anyone’s guess at this stage. Heading into the final lap though, it was Bezzecchi who had the advantage and he managed to use the KTM grunt to hold it into Turn 3, but then Di Giannantonio and Dalla Porta slipped by on the run back up to Turn 4. That pushed the Italian into the grasp of Bastianini, Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) and Martin.

After executing the final sector to perfection, Di Giannantonio was able to hold the inside line at the tight final corner to take the win but the race would end in disaster for some of those just behind. Bastianini ran in too hot, tucking the front as he pulled up behind teammate Dalla Porta and then left as a passenger as he slid out and collected Bezzecchi.

That meant Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) was able to stay out of trouble to claim a maiden Grand Prix podium in third, with the Italian staging an incredible comeback from P25 on the grid. Martin, putting in another stunner of a performance, crossed the line in fourth to capitalise and extend his lead in the Championship to 26 points.

Just behind the Spaniard, Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) was another on a charge and in the hunt throughout, eventually taking home P5, with rookie Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Academy 77) picking up his best result of the season in sixth and yet another rider to put in a sensational performance.

Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46) claimed his first top ten of the season in seventh, with Marcos Ramirez (Bester Capital Dubai) eighth. Wildcard Somkiat Chantra (AP Honda Racing Thailand), meanwhile, was one of the riders of the day as he took ninth – a magnificent ride from the Thai rider in his home race and first appearance. Kornfeil, who ran wide at the final corner to avoid Bezzecchi and Bastianini, crossed the line 10th.

There was heartbreak for Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) as the Japanese rider put on a great Sunday show after top pace throughout the weekend and then crashed out courtesy of some slightly too-close racing, with drama also hitting Darryn Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as he suffered an incident with Albert Arenas (Angel Nieto Team).

That's it for the lightweight class at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, with Martin securing what looked like an unlikely title race lead: 26 points is now the gap back to Bezzecchi. Race winner Di Giannantonio is just three points behind his compatriot in the overall standings now too, and Japan awaits the field next time out. Will there be another twist in the Moto3™ Championship tale?

Moto3™ Race Results

1 - Fabio Di Giannantonio (ITA) HONDA 38'10.789

2 - Lorenzo Dalla Porta (ITA) HONDA +0.135

3 - Dennis Foggia (ITA) KTM +0.466

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