A hot and humid scene was set for the historic first premier class grand prix in Thailand and 100,000 people showed up to see a win for reigning world champion Spaniard Marc Marquez now putting a finger on a seventh title.
The qualifying rounds sets up the spectacle for the first ever Thai Grand Prix. The nature of the Chang International Circuit meant that the Ducatis had the upper hand in the first part of the track, while the Yamahas and Suzukis were superior in the second half with the Hondas were strong in both parts. The Battle of Buriram was a hot one in more ways than one and it was Andrea Dovizioso’s turn to be the losing side in a last lap decider with Marquez. Marquez’s hard fought victory adds a little extra to his already sizeable championship lead, now 77 points ahead, while Dovizioso consolidates second place ahead of Valentino Rossi. The inaugural Thai round of MotoGP was full of surprises.
Expected heavy rain at the track on most days did not eventuate, with the track dry as a bone throughout. The round was expected to be popular; the only surprise was just how popular. An estimated 65,000 fans came to watch qualifying; to put that into perspective that is more fans for qualifying than fans on race day at six of last year’s rounds. The hot European summer has caused problems on occasion and the heat in Thailand did the same. “When we came here for the test, track temperature was 48°, 49°, yesterday was 53°, today was 57°, 58°.”
The heat means that there is less grip and greater tire wear than during the test, with the rear tire spinning up during acceleration. But in the punishing heat of Buriram, everyone clearly enjoyed the strangeness and excitement of Buriram with fans flocking to the event from all parts of the country and the world.
Naratip Golf Srisupab/SEALs Sports Images