CHANG. Breathtaking. A word that perfectly encapsulates the first ever PTT Thailand Grand Prix which saw Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) emerge victorious to take another giant leap towards the 2018 MotoGP™ World Championship, as 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.
Rossi crossed the line fourth in what was a hugely promising weekend for Yamaha, with fellow M1 and leading Independent Team rider Zarco getting the better of Rins – P5 and P6 respectively for the duo. Crutchlow ended the race seventh, finishing 0.171 ahead of Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) in eighth, with the two Alma Pramac Racing riders completing the top ten – P9 for Danilo Petrucci, P10 for Jack Miller.
Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) couldn’t repeat his Aragon heroics in Thailand – P11 for the Italian after a bad start, with Hafizh Syahrin (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) taking top rookie honours that sees the Malaysian return to form in P12 – 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.
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.
Aleix Espargaró: 13th
“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".
Xavier Siméon: 18th
“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".