Round 15 Thailand

  • Marquez Wins Red-Hot Thailand MotoGP Race

    Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) won a breathtaking final-corner duel to win the first-ever Thailand MotoGP race and take another important step towards winning the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.

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Marquez Wins Red-Hot Thailand MotoGP Race

CHANG INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, Thailand, October 7, 2018

Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) won a breathtaking final-corner duel to win today’s first-ever Thailand MotoGP race and take another important step towards winning the 2018 MotoGP World Championship.

The reigning champion – already winner of motorcycling’s biggest prize in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2017 – battled for victory with Andrea Dovizioso. At the finish line the pair were separated by just 0.115 seconds.

The final few laps were particularly thrilling, with Marquez and Dovizioso frequently swapping the lead, just in front of Maverick Vinales. Marquez took the lead halfway through the final lap, only for Dovizioso to squeeze past at the last corner, but Marquez was as magical as ever, cutting a super-tight line to beat Dovizioso to the checkered flag first. Once again he prevailed with a superb combination of intelligent strategy, controlled aggression and perfect performance from his RC213V.

Marquez’s seventh win of the year moves him 77 points ahead of Dovizioso, with four races remaining. This means that the 25-year-old Spaniard has the chance to secure this year’s crown at Honda’s home race at Twin Ring Motegi, Japan, on October 21. Marquez has already twice been crowned MotoGP king at Motegi, in 2014 and 2016.

The result extends Honda’s lead in the Constructors World Championship and the Repsol Honda Team’s advantage in the Teams World Championship. 

Today’s victory is also significant in another way. It is Marquez’s 68th victory across all three Grand Prix classes, which puts him fifth equal with compatriot Jorge Lorenzo in the all-time winners’ league, with just Mike Hailwood, Angel Nieto, Valentino Rossi and Giacomo Agostini ahead. Marquez has scored 58 of his victories with Honda power: 42 with his RC213V and a further 16 with the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 machine he raced in 2011 and 2012.

The race – played out in tropical conditions, with the track temperature nudging 50 degrees – was another classic. For half of the 26 laps a group consisting of up to eight riders chased the leader, with Marquez, Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda CASTROL RC213V) and Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team RC213V) all well placed.

Marquez had led the first few laps, but then dropped back to third, so that he could conserve his tires for the final stages. When Dovizioso took the lead from Rossi, Marquez was more than his equal. Only Vinales and Rossi could keep up, creating a thrilling four-man lead group that stayed close all the way to the finish.

The lead changed eight times between Marquez and Dovizioso in the final three laps. The Italian got in front at the final corner of the penultimate lap, Marquez successfully counter-attacked at turn five on the last lap, then came Dovizioso’s ultimately unsuccessful push at the last corner.

Crutchlow was content to score a fighting seventh-place result, which gives him the lead in the Independent Team Riders Championship and keeps alive his hopes of finishing the overall championship in the top five. The 32-year-old Briton was in the midst of the victory fight for the first 17 laps, but after that he suffered from rear-tire wear. As a result he started losing significant drive out of the circuit’s three critical acceleration points – turns one, three and 12. 

There was great frustration for Pedrosa, who crashed out of the leading fight on lap 19 of 26. During practice the 32-year-old Spaniard had felt most comfortable with the medium option rear tire but had to choose the hard option for the race, which made the first few laps difficult for him. After half-distance the former 125cc and 250cc World Champion had stunning pace and was closing on the lead group, looking good for a podium finish, when he hit a bump on the entry to turn five, which caused his front tire to slide away from him.

Rookie Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) had a difficult race but made it into the points. The reigning Moto2 World Champion had hopes of challenging for the top ten, but was unable to brake as late as he wanted due to an overheating front tire. Battling in a group of four riders, the 23-year-old Italian found it difficult to stay in his rivals’ slipstream and decided to collect two valuable points for 14th place that maintained his lead in the Rookie of the Year contest.

Fellow rookie Tom Luthi (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS RC213V) lost time in two early incidents. Firstly, he ran off the track at turn three on the first lap, then he had to take avoiding action on lap three at turn 12 when Japanese ace Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU RC213V) fell in front of him. His detour on the outside of the track cost him six seconds, and the Swiss rider could only manage 20th place from there. 

Nakagami had qualified a promising 14th fastest, just behind Morbidelli, but today wasn’t his day. After his crash the 26-year-old rookie from Chiba didn’t give up. He visited the pits for repairs and finally finished the race two laps down on the leaders. Now the former Moto2 race winner returns to his homeland to prepare for the Japanese GP.

In the Honda CBR600-powered Moto2 class, Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) produced a masterful performance to take his seventh win of the year. The 22-year-old Italian came under repeated pressure from championship rival Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM) in the early laps, but finally Bagnaia pulled clear for another important win – Italy’s 800th across all Grand Prix classes.

Once Bagnaia swooped into the lead at turn three on lap 12 – the fastest lap of the race – he never looked back. His mid-race rhythm was nothing short of exceptional, and he soon extended his lead over Oliveira to over one second. His eventual winning margin was 1.512s. 

Marc Marquez

Team-mate Luca Marini’s (Sky Racing Team VR46 Kalex) made an inspired late charge, which demoted Oliveira to third and boosted Bagnaia’s title advantage to 28 points. Marini’s second place equaled his best result. With tire wear close to critical in the heat, the four-time podium finisher had to carefully manage tire consumption before reeling in Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo KTM), who was shadowing team-mate Oliveira. Marini caught the pair with three laps remaining. He pounced on Binder with three laps to go, then took full advantage of Oliveira’s rear grip issues on the final lap.

Oliveira was clearly frustrated with third place. Fabio Quartararo (Speed Up Racing Speed Up) was five seconds behind Binder in fifth. Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) rode to a lonely sixth place, while Spanish teenager Iker Lecuona (Swiss Innovative Investors KTM) scored a fine seventh. Tetsuta Nagashima (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia Kalex) scored his best result to date with eighth, ahead of Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team Kalex) and Italian veteran Simone Corsi (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2 Kalex). 

Honda took a superb one-two in the Moto3 race. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) held his nerve for a second victory that was contested by as many as 16 riders, with Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) finishing less than two tenths behind him. At the final corner Dalla Porta’s team-mate Enea Bastianini’s (Leopard Racing Honda NSF250RW) made a lunge for the podium and crashed, taking championship hopeful Marco Bezzecchi with him. That crash gave title leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3 Honda NSF250RW) a 26-point advantage with four races to go.

Chang’s one-kilometer straight that stretches from turns one to three ensured no rider could break clear in the opening laps. Thus a 16-rider freight train soon formed, with the leading riders – Di Giannantonio, Bezzecchi and Dennis Foggia – exchanging the lead several times a lap. With 2.5 seconds covering the top 16 for 18 of the 22 laps, this race was always going to come down to a last-lap shootout. 

On the last lap Di Giannantonio wrestled the initiative off Bezzecchi at turn four and managed the gap from there to lead Dall Porta across the line by 0.135 seconds. The second win of his career puts Di Giannantonio back in the title race. Dalla Porta claimed a third podium finish with his own fighting last lap.

Bezzecchi’s misfortune was Martin’s gain. The Spaniard was diagnosed with neuritis on Saturday after a post-practice massage pinched a nerve in his left hand. Wearing a special glove to assist movement he was suffering, the 20-year old rode a mature race, conserving energy in the early laps before gradually ascending the order while avoiding unnecessary risk. The last-lap chaos allowed him to claim a crucial fourth place.

Thai wild card Somkiat Chantra (AP Honda Racing Thailand) was mightily impressive on his Grand Prix debut. The 19-year-old from Chonburi was involved in the leading group throughout and scored a fantastic ninth-place finish, which explains why he will be a permanent World Championship rider in 2019!

Also in the points were Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team Honda NSF250RW) in 14th and Malaysian rider Adam Norrodin (Malaysian Petronas Sprinta Racing Honda NSF250RW) in 15th.

Next race is the Japanese Grand Prix at Twin Ring Motegi on October 21.

Comments

MotoGP

Marc Marquez, Repsol Honda Team: 1st

“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 tire, so I wasn’t able. Instead, I just tried to manage the tires 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.”

Cal Crutchlow, LCR Honda CASTROL: 7th

“Today I could be more competitive than other races and closer to the front group. Unfortunately, I think the key to the race today was the tire choice. It’s a shame because my riding and my pace was good but the grip on track wasn’t that high and the hard rear tire wasn’t offering the same grip we had in the practices; maybe the soft better matched today’s track conditions. I was losing some tenths every lap and couldn’t stick to the others. Otherwise, today I could’ve fought for a podium finish or the victory. Step by step we are improving a little bit; let’s see if we can be faster in the next race.”

Franco Morbidelli, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 14th

“The race was very difficult because I struggled from the beginning with top speed and in the group I wasn’t able to brake as deep as I wanted. It was not easy get back into the points so I limited the damage and scored two valuable points.”

Thomas Luthi, Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS: 20th

“It is pity because I made big mistake at the beginning and that destroyed my race. I had a big moment after turn three on the first lap, the bike was out of control on the brakes and difficult to stop I was on the grass and in last position. Then I lost six seconds avoiding the Taka Nakagami crash so with my race gone I just continued on to try and understand the bike more. It was good physical workout in these hot conditions.”

Takaaki Nakagami, LCR Honda IDEMITSU: 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.”

Dani Pedrosa, Repsol Honda Team: 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 tires 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.”

Moto2

Francesco Bagnaia, Sky Racing Team VR46: 1st

“I'm really happy: I knew that in the first laps, with new tire, I would have struggled a bit, but I kept calm and I tried to be constant. In this kind of conditions, with high temperatures, I can be even more competitive, especially with used tires. Miguel was really strong here and I was starting from the second row, but I could do a great race because after the first 8/10 laps I knew I could start to impose my pace. I was hoping to go to Japan with 25 points to manage, but Luca gave me a great present today, overtaking Miguel in the last lap.”

Luca Marini, Sky Racing Team VR46: 2nd

“A really difficult race and a great final. I have managed really well the tires and the temperatures for taking an advantage in the last laps. At the start I lost some positions, but I tried to be smart and not lose my mind. It was a great day for the whole team – congratulations to Pecco and Dennis. We have to continue in this direction, trying to help as much as possible Pecco.”

Miguel Oliveira, Red Bull KTM Ajo: 3rd

"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

Fabio Di Giannantonio, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 1st

“It was the most difficult race of my career. Temperatures were sky high and it was difficult to stay upright while battling with so many riders for the win. We put our hearts in it and won an extremely important race for our championship hopes. Let’s enjoy this success while we can because we need to be ready for the three back-to-back races if we want to get to Valencia with a shot at the title.”

Lorenzo Dalla Porta, Leopard Racing: 2nd

“I gave everything to win but the tires were close to destroyed on the final lap. I tried to always be either first, second or third in the leading group because there were so many riders fighting. I’m happy because this is my third podium in the world championship. We are in the correct way and we have to keep going because we’ve been strong in the last races.”

Jorge Martin, Del Conca Gresini Moto3: 4th

“What a crazy weekend! I wasn’t completely comfortable with the bike, but also what happened with the Clinica Mobile was absolutely unexpected. I still cannot open my hand due to the nerve, so using the clutch was very, very difficult. We had to manufacture a special glove in order for me to change gears, which was a work of art. Yesterday I thought about not racing and sit out the race, but then I saw a couple of crashes and thought about riding through pain and discomfort – and it went well.”

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Results

MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix 2018
Round 15: Thailand Race

MotoGP Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Marc MARQUEZ (Repsol Honda Team)
2 Andrea DOVIZIOSO (Ducati Team)
3 Maverick VIÑALES (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
4 Valentino ROSSI (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP)
5 Johann ZARCO (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
6 Alex RINS (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
7 Cal CRUTCHLOW (LCR Honda CASTROL)
8 Alvaro BAUTISTA (Angel Nieto Team)
9 Danilo PETRUCCI (Alma Pramac Racing)
10 Jack MILLER (Alma Pramac Racing)
11 Andrea IANNONE (Team SUZUKI ECSTAR)
12 Hafizh SYAHRIN (Monster Yamaha Tech 3)
13 Aleix ESPARGARO (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
14 Franco MORBIDELLI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
15 Bradley SMITH (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
16 Scott REDDING (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini)
17 Karel ABRAHAM (Angel Nieto Team)
18 Xavier SIMEON (Reale Avintia Racing)
19 Jordi TORRES(Reale Avintia Racing)
20 Thomas LUTHI (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
21 Pol ESPARGARO (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing)
22 Takaaki NAKAGAMI (LCR Honda IDEMITSU)
RT Dani PEDROSA (Repsol Honda Team)

Moto2 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Francesco BAGNAIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
2 Luca MARINI (SKY Racing Team VR46)
3 Miguel OLIVEIRA (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
4 Brad BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
5 Fabio QUARTARARO (MB Conveyors - Speed Up)
6 Mattia PASINI (Italtrans Racing Team)
7 Iker LECUONA (Swiss Innovative Investors)
8 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
9 Andrea LOCATELLI (Italtrans Racing Team)
10 Simone CORSI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
11 Xavi VIERGE (Dynavolt Intact GP)
12 Remy GARDNER (Tech 3 Racing)
13 Joe ROBERTS (NTS RW Racing GP)
14 Bo BENDSNEYDER (Tech 3 Racing)
15 Niki TUULI (Petronas Sprinta Racing )
16 Dominique AEGERTER (Kiefer Racing)
17 Jorge NAVARRO (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2)
18 Thitipong WAROKORN (SAG Team)
19 Edgar PONS (AGR Team)
20 Jules DANILO (Nashi Argan SAG Team)
21 Khairul Idham PAWI (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia)
22 Xavi CARDELUS (Marinelli Snipers Team)
23 Steven ODENDAAL (NTS RW Racing GP)
24 Isaac VIÑALES (Forward Racing Team)
25 Federico FULIGNI (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2)
RT Sam LOWES (Swiss Innovative Investors)
RT Lorenzo BALDASSARRI (Pons HP40)
RT Alex MARQUEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)
RT Stefano MANZI (Forward Racing Team)
RT Augusto FERNANDEZ (Pons HP40)
RT Marcel SCHROTTER (Dynavolt Intact GP)
RT Joan MIR (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS)

Moto3 Class

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
2 Lorenzo DALLA PORTA (Leopard Racing)
3 Dennis FOGGIA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
4 Jorge MARTIN (Del Conca Gresini Moto3)
5 Gabriel RODRIGO (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
6 Vicente PEREZ (Reale Avintia Academy 77)
7 Nicolo BULEGA (SKY Racing Team VR46)
8 Marcos RAMIREZ (Bester Capital Dubai)
9 Somkiat CHANTRA (AP Honda Racing Thailand)
10 Jakub KORNFEIL (Redox PruestelGP)
11 Andrea MIGNO (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
12 Kaito TOBA (Honda Team Asia)
13 Philipp OETTL (Sudmetal Schedl GP Racing)
14 Tony ARBOLINO (Marinelli Snipers Team)
15 Adam NORRODIN (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
16 Apiwath WONGTHANANO (Apiwath WONGTHANANO)
17 Jaume MASIA (Bester Capital Dubai)
18 Jeremy ALCOBA (Junior Team Estrella Galicia 0,0)
19 Stefano NEPA (CIP - Green Power)
20 Kazuki MASAKI (RBA BOE Skull Rider)
RT Marco BEZZECCHI (Redox PruestelGP)
RT Enea BASTIANINI (Leopard Racing)
RT John MCPHEE (CIP - Green Power)
RT Nakarin ATIRATPHUVAP (Honda Team Asia)
RT Ayumu SASAKI (Petronas Sprinta Racing)
RT Albert ARENAS (Angel Nieto Team Moto3)
RT Niccolò ANTONELLI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
RT Tatsuki SUZUKI (SIC58 Squadra Corse)
RT Darryn BINDER (Red Bull KTM Ajo)
RT Alonso LOPEZ (Estrella Galicia 0,0)

Photos