Honda’s Marc Marquez took victory in the inaugural MotoGP’s Thai GP at Buriram over Ducati’s Andrea Dovizioso with Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales in third.
It was a clean start from Marquez as he headed Rossi and Dovizioso in Thai GP as LCR Honda’s Cal Crutchlow cleared Vinales for fourth while Suzuki’s Andrea Iannone and Honda’s Dani Pedrosa lost places to drop outside the Top 10.
Few laps in, Rossi made his move on Marquez to take the lead of the race – much to delight of the crowd – with the Honda rider also losing out to Dovizioso immediately. Crutchlow though kept his bike ahead of Vinales as Iannone and Pedrosa started to fight back.
Tech 3 Yamaha’s Johann Zarco and Suzuki’s Alex Rins was also in the mix. Rossi headed Dovizioso and Marquez for few laps until his tyres started to give away. The Italian quickly lost to Dovizioso and Marquez as Vinales got on his tail after he passed Crutchlow.
Vinales then passed Rossi for third but it got tasty in the front with Dovizioso and Marquez getting on with the fight. The two started exchanging places then, going back and forth lap after lap until the chequered flag.
Marquez would clear Dovizioso but the Italian would fight back in the next few corners to retake the lead. It went on the same way until the end of the 26-lap race. Dovizioso started the final lap in the lead with Vinales and Rossi also in the fray.
But Marquez got him in the second part of the lap. Dovizioso went for the inside line and got ahead in the right-hander but Marquez used the cutback and took the lead in the final corner to win the inaugural Thai GP in style.
It was his seventh victory of the 2018 season as he continued to extend his championship lead over Dovizioso who had to settle for second – only 0.115s separating the two. Vinales was not far behind in third with Rossi a close fourth.
The Top 4 were separated by 1.294s in the end. It was Yamaha 3-4-5 with Zarco staging a fightback in the second half of the race to end up fifth after clearing both Rins and Crutchlow with another position gained due to a crash for Pedrosa in Turn 5.
Rins was only 0.276s behind Zarco to be sixth with Crutchlow just keeping seventh from Angel Nieto Ducati’s Alvaro Bautista – the two were only 0.171s apart. The Spaniard lost places in the start and was running around 12th for majority of the race.
However, a late charge saw him propel to eighth as he continued on with his fine form in 2018. Pramac Racing Ducati’s Danilo Petrucci finished ninth from teammate Jack Miller with Iannone only 11th.
The top rookie was Tech 3 Yamaha’s Hafizh Syahrin who fought back as well after a slow start with Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro finishing 13th ahead of Marc VDS Honda’s Franco Morbidelli and KTM’s Bradley Smith in the points scoring position.
Aprilia’s Scott Redding did well from the back to fight for points in 16th – missing 15th by just 0.176s. Angel Nieto Ducati’s Karel Abraham was 17th from Avintia Ducati pair of Xavier Simeon and Jordi Torres.
The Spaniard did well to stay on the tail of Simeon while fending off Marc VDS Honda’s Thomas Luthi for 19th as KTM’s Pol Espargaro rounded out the 21 finishers. Pedrosa and LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami were the two retirements.