Round 15 – Thailand, Buriram International Circuit
Fabio Quartararo headed a Yamaha 1-2-3 in Thailand on Friday ahead of Maverick Vinales and Franco Morbidelli.
Fabio Quartararo – P1
“I felt really good all day today, and we were able to do a lot of work on our pace, and we went quite fast not only on time attack but also when I was in a rhythm. We’ll need to take some time tomorrow to compare the tyres, but so far I’m really happy with my performance. We know that Marc [Marquez] will be strong, so we’ll need to keep concentrating on our pace because it’s not enough yet. We’ve got some good ideas to try though, and the team and I will work hard tonight on that.”
Maverick Vinales – P2
“This is a track where we’re usually quite fast. We still have some points where we can improve, but I‘m quite happy. We did a good job today and for tomorrow there are still opportunities to further improve, as I said. I‘m quite happy and confident, and we‘ll see where we are after qualifying. There‘s more potential for us in sector 2. Today, I used the tyre that I thought had the most potential. I‘m quite pleased with the lap times and the rhythm, and tomorrow for sure we‘ll make another step.”
Franco Morbidelli – P3
“This afternoon we were able to get into the top three, which is always a positive when you’re not sure how the weather is going to react. It’s quite a pleasant surprise that we were able to top sector two as well, because it’s full of long straights! It was a positive day for us, and the bike is working quite well for me, as it has for a few races now. We’ll have to see what happens if there’s rain tomorrow, but we know we’ve got good speed. We’ll try and improve again, of course, as it will be important to get on the front two rows.”
Jack Miller was the fastest Ducati in P4 while Valentino Rossi made it all four Yamahas in the top five.
Jack Miller – P4
“The feeling is good and the bike is working very well. We tried some solutions and it was an intense day of work. The weather forecast is not good for tomorrow. That’s why our goal today was to be in the Top 10, and we have achieved it convincingly.”
Valentino Rossi – P5
“It was a positive day because all the Yamahas are at the top, they are strong, we are fast. Especially when we put in the softer tyres for the time attack, the bike worked very well. In terms of race pace we suffered a bit more. Our opponents are very strong, so for the race we need to work, especially to make the right tyre choice for the front and rear. For the time attack we are very fast.”
Marc Marquez survived an absolutely monumental crash on Friday morning to bounce back to lead most of FP2 before being gazumped in the dying minutes. Tellingly Marquez never bothered slotting in a soft tyre late in the session, unlike most of the others. Perhaps that was still to just underline his speed, and the ease that he could do it, even after an absolutely frightening crash in the previous session.
Marc Marquez – P6
“We started the day well but in the last run we had a big crash on our out lap. I was feeling OK when I arrived in the medical centre but we followed the doctor’s procedures and went for some checks. The most important thing is I am OK, I’m in some pain but OK. In the afternoon I was able to ride well and I am happy with what we achieved. We only had to modify our plan a little bit but I was able to be fast immediately.”
Aleix Espargaro again putting in an encouraging performance for Aprilia to finish day one in P7 ahead of Andrea Dovizioso, Joan Mir and Alex Rins.
Aleix Espargaro – P7
“Yesterday we analysed the setup used last year very carefully and we decided to start with a completely different configuration. I felt good straight away, but we still need to improve something in the first two sectors where being able to use a slipstream makes a big difference. If we look at the standings, the gaps are minimal. I think that the positivity we are bringing from Aragón is also making a difference. Now we need to keep working on tyre choice. While I don’t have any big doubts about the front, on the rear I have the possibility of assessing a couple of options. Making the right choice could be vital, especially in the race finale.”
Andrea Dovizioso – P8
“Today I had a good feeling and we did a good job with the set-up: we also tested something important and it went well. We are consistent but there are a lot of quick riders and it’s still difficult to see how everyone is really going on the track. As I said however, I’m happy with the bike and also the tyres are performing well: unfortunately, I have a neck problem and also a sore throat, so I’m taking antibiotics, and in this heat I’m physically struggling a bit, but I hope I won’t suffer too much in the next couple of days”.
Danilo Petrucci was just outside the top ten but only seven-tenths away from Quartararo’s Friday benchmark time.
Thailand MotoGP Friday Combined Times
Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) was the quickest man out the blocks at Buriram on Day 1 of the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, but it wasn’t by much. A stunning performance from Thai rookie Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) put him second overall by only 0.008, with Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) rounding out a top three split by an infinitesimal 0.013 on Day 1.
Hot but dry, at least barring the typical humidity, Friday was one of the closest opening days of the season as the top 24 were all within a second. With the weather a question mark for much of the event, getting the most from that track time and trying to secure a place in Q2 was high on the agenda – and it’s less than four tenths that cover those who’ll provisionally go through.
Behind the top three it’s still hundredths deciding the timesheets as Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) finished the day just 0.036 behind his teammate; the Australian taking P4 and just ahead of Championship leader Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS). The number 73 was fifth but only 0.077 off Marini.
Sixth belonged to Italian rookie Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team), with ‘The Beast’ just getting the better of KTM riders Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM) and Aragon GP winner Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo). Key title challengers Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) and Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up) completed the top ten in P9 and P10 respectively, although Navarro remains just two and a half tenths off the top.
Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team) was P11, ahead of Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3), with Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) the last man who currently stands to move through should the weather worsen conditions in FP3 on Saturday morning.
There were a few surprise names further down including Lorenzo Baldassarri (Flexbox HP 40) in P18, just ahead of Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2), who crashed in FP2. Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) returned from injury and was 20th despite an FP1 crash, with Mattia Pasini (Tasca Racing Scuderia Moto2) another faller in the afternoon as he ended the day just behind the German.
Moto2 Friday Combined Times
|25||F.Di Giannanto||SPEED UP||+1.007|
Andrea Migno (WWR) ends Friday at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix as the fastest man in Moto3, with the Italian quickest in FP1 by over a quarter of a second and nobody able to better his laptime in the afternoon. The two men who completed the top three also set their fastest laps in FP1: Tony Arbolino (VNE Snipers) and Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who were second and third respectively.
Conditions at Buriram were as scorching as ever on Day 1 and with weather looking likely to change as the weekend goes on, every bit of dry track time was valuable in the fight for a provisional place in Q2. But despite a flurry of activity at the end of FP2 as the majority of the field pushed to improve, the heat and different track conditions leave the overall timesheets a mixture of best efforts from both sessions.
Behind the top three, all from FP1, the next four all set their best efforts in FP2: Gabriel Rodrigo (Kömmerling Gresini Moto3) was quickest in the afternoon and fourth overall, with Dennis Foggia (Sky Racing Team VR46) – who took his first Grand Prix podium at the venue last year -completing the top five. Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PrüstelGP) was sixth, and by just 0.006, although the Czech rider is now on damage limitation in practice and qualifying after having been given a 12-place grid penalty for slow sectors in FP1. Makar Yurchenko (BOE Skull Rider Mugen Race) was only another 0.004 further back as he impressed to take P7 on Friday.
Eighth overall went the way of Alonso Lopez (Estrella Galicia 0,0) as the Spaniard headed up another gaggle of riders who set their best laptimes in FP1. That group comprised Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) in ninth, Albert Arenas (Gaviota Angel Nieto Team) in tenth and Marcos Ramirez (Leopard Racing) in P11. Sasaki, however, is another who received a penalty for slow sectors on Friday and his is a back of the grid start.
So where are the Championship leaders? Lorenzo Dalla Porta (Leopard Racing) ended the day 12th overall, just ahead of Kaito Toba (Honda Team Asia) as the Japanese rider separated him from key title rival Aron Canet (Sterilgarda Max Racing Team). After missing the event through injury last season, this is Canet’s first race weekend at Buriram and he was able to at least secure himself a provisional place in Q2 should the weather change in FP3. The Spaniard was P14 and the last of those who could stand to gain from worsening conditions.
John McPhee (Petronas Sprinta Racing) was a surprise name to miss out as he was 17th, just behind Aragon podium finisher Ai Ogura (Honda Team Asia). Meanwhile Celestino Vietto (Sky Racing Team VR46), who currently leads Ogura in the fight for Rookie of the Year, was 20th on Day 1.
Moto3 Friday Combined Times