(28/09/22) The MotoGP title contenders and their crew are
in Thailand for this weekend’s OR Thailand Grand Prix in Buriram
The gaps remain fairly tight despite the drama in
Motegi, Japan, but with the rounds counting down fast the pressure
Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) is
looking for a lot more than eighth, and at a track where the
second half of the lap should certainly suit a little more, Aleix
Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) will be looking for a drama-free
weekend after losing the chance to capitalise in Japan, and
Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) will have one thing on his
Eighteen points is now much more significant there
are only 100 left in play, and Quartararo will hope good memories
of Buriram (บุรีรัมย์) can replay this weekend as he aims to get
back on the podium and start from the front row – with the
Frenchman finding overtaking close to the limit.
Izan Guevara learning Muay Thai ahead of the OR Thailand Grand Prix in Buriram (บุรีรัมย์)
For Aleix Espargaro the frustration was also
palpable, but for different reasons. The Aprilia rider had a solid
race and his pace was good, too – he just had to start from
pit lane after his first bike was left in fuel saving mode.
Teammate Maverick Viñales likewise left
Japan with less than he’d hoped for, and he said it was the tire
choice that hampered a podium charge.
Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP) could be
another to watch. It was a middling weekend at Motegi and he only
lost a point to Quartararo, but with the biggest deficit to make
up of the riders who remain more than simply mathematical
challengers for the crown, it wasn’t enough – and Buriram will
need to be much more to keep the ‘Beast’ in with a shot.
Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Racing) taking a podium too, it wasn’t
just being Jack Miller that was the key to solid points in Japan,
so Bastianini and Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) will want to
hit back at Buriram.
For KTM, Japan definitely did taste sweet. Both
Red Bull KTM Factory Racing machines finished in the top five –
only Ducati managed the same or better – and Brad Binder took a
second dry weather podium of the season. After rain in qualifying
saw the South African boss it on Saturday, a front row start – his
first in the premier class – certainly helped the cause, but
teammate Miguel Oliveira was a little further back and also
managed his Sunday charge.
There was, of course, one huge headline in Japan,
aside from the title contenders and the actual winner of the Grand
Prix: Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team). His pole position on
Saturday saw him back on top for the first time in 1071 days, and
the number 93 was no slouch on race day either. Motegi is a tough
track, physically, so a fourth place is another sign of the soft
Jaws music starting to creep back in from the eight-time World
Champion. Buriram is another he’s ruled, and although rain in
qualifying at Motegi saw him able to play his dice to perfection,
we can likely expect him to feature highly on the grid in Thailand
too – and maybe take another step on Sunday.
With a final corner set up to deliver a showdown,
Buriram promises much as the final race of the triple header.
MotoGP Championship: Top 5
1 Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP™)
– Yamaha – 219 2 Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) –
Ducati – 201 3 Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) – Aprilia – 194 4 Enea Bastianini (Gresini Racing MotoGP™) – Ducati – 170 5
Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) – Ducati – 159
Before they fight it out on the track, a few
riders got a taste of Muay Thai.
Home heroes Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team
Asia) and Keminth Kubo (Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team) were joined
at the special event by Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol), Fabio Di
Giannantonio (Gresini Racing MotoGP), Albert Arenas (Inde GASGAS
Aspar) and Moto3 Championship leader Izan Guevara (Gaviota GASGAS
Aspar Team) to try out the world famous discipline.