The resurgent Ducati team and Yamaha which managed to bring about a second per lap improvement through setup and fairing changes couldn’t stop Marc Marquez from taking the first Thailand MotoGP title ahead of Dovizioso and Viñales.
The start saw Marquez get his hole shot from pole position, with Valentino Rossi’s Yamaha on his tail. Dovizioso lost his third spot to a charging Cal Crutchlow, only to fight back and take the spot.
But then Rossi pulled off a good move that saw him take the lead off Marquez for the next seven laps, only to have his Yamaha hold back and allow first Andrea Dovizioso and then Marquez ahead, with the Ducati setting a blistering pace.
The leaders were being tailed by Crutchlow, Viñales on the other Yamaha, Johann Zarco on his Tech 3 Yamaha, Marquez’s teammate Dani Pedrosa on the other Honda and Alex Rins on his Suzuki. The first of the tailing pack to break order was Crutchlow who couldn’t keep up with the leader’s pace and dropped back allowing himself to slip back to seventh.
Pedrosa too couldn’t keep the pace, crashing out in the closing stages, to allow Zarco a go at the lead pack. The fight then shifted to the front, with Marquez taking the battle to Dovi and Viñales moved up on Rossi. For a couple of laps it was touch and go with Marquez doing his on the edge overtake only to lose the lead back to the Ducati.
The last three laps saw a battle Royale develop, with Marquez finally managing to move ahead and stay there with the final corner seeing the last tiff leading to a hairline finish that saw Marquez pip Dovizioso and Viñales right on their tails.
This win puts Marquez in the position to be able to wind up the championship battle at the coming MotoGP in Motegi.
Marquez said, “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 tyre, so I wasn’t able. Instead, I just tried to manage the tyres 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.”
2018 MotoGP Riders
|Bike No||Name||Team||2018 season||2017 season|
|93||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda||271||298|
|46||Valentino Rossi||Movistar Yamaha||172||208|
|25||Maverick Viñales||Movistar Yamaha||146||230|
|35||Cal Crutchlow||LCR Honda||128||112|
|9||Danilo Petrucci||Alma Pramac||126||124|
|5||Johann Zarco||Monster Yamaha Tech3||123||174|
|29||Andrea Iannone||Suzuki Ecstar||113||70|
|42||Alex Rins||Suzuki Ecstar||102||59|
|26||Dani Pedrosa||Repsol Honda||87||210|
|43||Jack Miller||Alma Pramac||74||82|
|19||Alvaro Bautista||Angel Nieto||72||75|
|53||Tito Rabat||Reale Avintia||35||35|
|21||Franco Morbidelli||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||33|
|44||Pol Espargaro||Red Bull KTM||32||55|
|55||Hafizh Syahrin||Monster Yamaha Tech3||28|
|38||Bradley Smith||Red Bull KTM||19||29|
|30||Takaaki Nakagami||LCR Honda||18|
|36||Mika Kallio||Red Bull KTM||6|
|17||Karel Abraham||Angel Nieto||5||32|
|51||Michele Pirro||Ducati Test team||1|
|12||Thomas Luthi||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||0|
|10||Xavier Simeon||Reale Avintia||0|
2018 MotoGP Teams
|Team||2018 season||2017 season|
|Monster Yamaha Tech3||151||258|
|Red Bull KTM||51||84|
|EG 0,0 Marc VDS||33||117|
2018 MotoGP Races
|Thailand||7-Oct||Marc Marquez||Andrea Dovizioso||Maverick Viñales|
|Spain (Aragon)||23-Sep||Marc Marquez||Andrea Dovizioso||Andrea Iannone|
|Italy||9-Sep||Andrea Dovizioso||Marc Marquez||Cal Crutchlow|
|Austria||12-Aug||Jorge Lorenzo||Marc Marquez||Andrea Dovizioso|
|Czech Republic||5-Aug||Andrea Dovizioso||Jorge Lorenzo||Marc Marquez|
|Germany||15-Jul||Marc Marquez||Valentino Rossi||Maverick Viñales|
|Netherlands||1-Jul||Marc Marquez||Alex Rins||Maverick Viñales|
|Spain (Catalunya)||17-Jun||Jorge Lorenzo||Marc Marquez||Valentino Rossi|
|Italy||3-Jun||Jorge Lorenzo||Andrea Dovizioso||Valentino Rossi|
|France||20-May||Marc Marquez||Danilo Petrucci||Valentino Rossi|
|Spain (Jerez)||6-May||Marc Marquez||Johann Zarco||Andrea Iannone|
|United States||22-Apr||Marc Marquez||Maverick Viñales||Andrea Iannone|
|Argentina||8-Apr||Cal Crutchlow||Johann Zarco||Alex Rins|
|Qatar||18-Mar||Andrea Dovizioso||Marc Marquez||Valentino Rossi|