Sat, September 25, 2021


Marquez vs Quartararo: the reigning Champion repels the rookie to rule in Buriram

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The Frenchman took it down to the last lap once again, but Marquez plays his cards to perfection to win the race and title number eight



Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was crowned an eight-time World Champion as he took victory in the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, but it was far from easy going as rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo (Petronas Yamaha SRT) once again took the reigning Champion to the wire on race day. The two were locked together on each and every lap, with the final corner deciding it all as Quartararo hit attack mode and dived up the inside, but Marquez kept the better of him. Behind the two, Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) completed the podium.

It was Quartararo who kept the lead from pole as the lights went out, with Marquez on his tail from the off as Viñales lost a place off the line. Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) did the opposite and shot through the pack, up from seventh on the grid to muscle his way into P4 straight away - first mission accomplished. Despite the start though, Marquez, Quartararo and Viñales started to pull away, with the number 12 particularly keen to make a move on Marquez. Not long after, however, the front two also started to drop Viñales.

Trying to attack Quartararo early doors, Marquez had run slightly wide and from then on, the reigning Champion seemed more content to sit behind the rookie Frenchman - just as he did at Misano. Sometimes further away, sometimes a little closer...sometimes seeming to fade and then suddenly pulling the pin to move back in, Marquez stalked his prey lap after lap.

Viñales couldn't stay with the pair, and as they moved on to the final lap it was set in stone as another rookie-reigning Champion duel. And the ball was in the reigning Champion's court, with Marquez trailing the Frenchman as he had all race. But he struck early, where he'd feinted the move a few laps before, outbraking Quartararo at the end of the back straight. Now, it was all on the rookie. Could he stay with him? Could he attack back?

Throughout the lap the Yamaha was making up the distance on the Honda in the lead, and blasting down towards the final corner it seemed he was close enough. Sure enough, 'El Diablo' pulled out, back wheel in the air as he dropped anchor, slamming it up the inside...but Marquez was ready. The number 93 cut back and gassed it towards the line, just able to stay ahead to take the win and a stunning eighth world title, his sixth in the premier class.

Quartararo, meanwhile, was left with another second place - but he was closer than last time, and will surely be closer again...

Viñales completed the podium after another solid but ultimately lonely race, not quite on terms with the duel ahead but nearly ten seconds clear of Dovizioso in fourth, who found race day tougher going in 2019. Second in the Championship, however, seems ever more likely.

Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) recovered from a tougher qualifying and tougher start to the race to complete the top five, just two tenths off Dovi by the flag. Franco Morbidelli (Petronas Yamaha SRT) took P6 and another solid haul of points despite fading a few positions from the start.

Joan Mir (Team Suzuki Ecstar) took on Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) and won, four tenths ahead of the veteran by the flag, and both leapfrogged second row starter Danilo Petrucci (Ducati Team). The Mugello winner came home in a lonely P9.

Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia) was the second Honda home as he completed the top ten, ahead of rookie Francesco Bagnaia (Pramac Racing). Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) suffered braking issues and could only manage 12th at Buriram.

Pol Espargaro (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) was able to take P13 as he comes back from injury, impressive once again and going the distance, with Jack Miller (Pramac Racing) taking P14. Why? The Australian unfortunately hit the kill switch on the grid and had to start from pitlane. Considering that, it was quite a comeback, just edging ahead of Andrea Iannone (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini), who in turn beat Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3).

And so, that's a wrap on the 2019 Championship fight, although it's far from the end of the season. Marquez breaks more records and takes home another trophy, and Quartararo takes home yet more experience to keep improving his already impressive armoury. Next up it's the Twin Ring Motegi...tune in in two weeks, when Marquez could be unleashed...
Marc Marquez: "I am very happy because when you have this big advantage, you need to realise the Championship is very close. But then you need to find extra motivation; an extra motivation was to try to close the Championship in this way. In a nice race with a nice victory. That's what I did. I mean, Fabio was incredibly fast during the race. I never gave up in the middle of the race, it looked like he was going away but I tried to push. Until the last lap I was pushing, and I never think about the championship – just I was thinking about the race. When I crossed the line, you know, when I arrived...especially with the Repsol Honda Team that they did an amazing job this year. I was very happy dreams come true with all fan club nice celebration.

"Every year is special. First of all because it is not easy to keep the same ambition, same mentality and especially the team always understand the situation and when we had some never give up, keep calm and this is so important. This is the most difficult thing. For this reason the pressure is there, and you feel it. You are human and you feel it. Of course, the winter was hard, with a big injury on my shoulder. We didn’t start the season in a hundred percent physical condition. But we’ve managed it in a good way and now it’s time to celebrate all this.

"Now it's time to celebrate, time to enjoy. Of course, these last races our intention, our ambition, our mentality is the same. It’s true that when you win the Championship your body switches off one light. We have five lights, switch off one. But we will try to push, one of the targets is to win the triple crown. Constructors we are there, team championship will be difficult. But we never give up. Now it's time to celebrate... but start 2020 in Motegi!"
Race results:
1 - Marc Marquez (SPA - Honda) 39'36.223
2 - Fabio Quartararo* (FRA - Yamaha) +0.171
3 - Maverick Viñales (SPA - Yamaha) +1.380

*Independent Team rider
Marquez vs Quartararo: the reigning Champion repels the rookie to rule in Buriram
Podium L-R: Quartararo, Marquez and Viñales celebrate
Magnificent Marini crushes the opposition in Thailand
Italian takes his second Grand Prix win as two duels decide a feisty top five at Buriram
Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) absolutely dominated the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, getting to the front early on and then putting the hammer down to pull well clear of the chasing pack. That chasing pack was headed by an all-KTM duel between Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM Ajo) and Iker Lecuona (American Racing KTM), with the South African able to hold off the Spaniard at the final corner. Just behind them, Augusto Fernandez (Flexbox HP 40) came out on top in an almighty scrap with Championship rival Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS).

Marquez took the holeshot from pole, with Tetsuta Nagashima (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team) keeping second and Marini immediately making his presence felt as he blasted up into the top three. He was soon the man on the chase behind Marquez too, and the gap between the two started to come down as the Italian pulled the pin. With Marini into the lead by Lap 3, he and Marquez were both also easing away from the group behind, but once Lecuona was through into third he was also able to home in.

As that battle got closer and closer to a reality though, Marini got further and further away. And before long, Marquez had a small queue behind him of Lecuona, Binder, and Fernandez. The number 27 attacked and was denied, Binder would look for a way through on his fellow KTM, and Fernandez was right on the back of them - but still Marquez held firm. By Lap 13 though, Lecuona had made his move and made it stick, with Binder then following him through as well.

That created two duels. The all-KTM fight for second, and the brutal bust up for supremacy between the Championship leader and the man who is now once again his closest challenger. In the first, Binder waited it out and it was only over the line for the last lap that the South African led the way, then left to defend his position and everything going down to the final corner. Lecuona pounced, but the Spaniard then had to perform the save of his career to stay on the bike - and Binder was able to cross the line first. 

Behind them, it was Fernandez who beat Marquez at Buriram. The battle was brutal, however, with so much on the line - and the number 40 ultimately coming out on top. For the Championship, he needed to - and he even almost got on terms with Lecuona after the KTM rider's mammoth moment out of the final corner.

After Fernandez' crash at Aragon, however, taking P5 just behind his compatriot was still enough for Alex Marquez to extend his lead. It's now 40 points ahead of number 40 Fernandez after a 0 for Jorge Navarro (Beta Tools Speed Up)...and Binder is now third, only 44 points back...

Sixth went the way of Jorge Martin (Red Bull KTM Ajo) as the rookie took his best finish yet and from his first front row, ahead of Tom Lüthi (Dynavolt Intact GP) and Nicolo Bulega (Sky Racing Team VR46). Home hero Somkiat Chantra (Idemitsu Honda Team Asia), meanwhile, took an impressive ninth on home hero - getting the better of Marco Bezzecchi (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) at the final corner, who in turn was only just clear of Enea Bastianini (Italtrans Racing Team).

Remy Gardner (ONEXOX TKKR SAG Team), Andrea Locatelli (Italtrans Racing Team), Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) back from injury and front row starter Nagashima completed the points, with Navarro in P17.

Was Buriram another pivotal race in the title fight? Marquez left with a bigger lead but he also had some serious rivals. What can the likes of Fernandez and Binder do in Japan? Find out in two weeks at the Twin Ring Motegi.
Luca Marini: "It was a very good race with good constant pace, I'm very happy because I finished dominating and it was the first time in my career. It was a really difficult race because I started thinking a lot about so many things, although I was trying to stay as focused as possible because with such a gap it's so easy to lose concentration and make a mistake. So I tried to set myself a target on race pace and push from the beginning to the last lap. It was really good, the bike worked so well, it was quite easy to ride, it wasn't such a physical race, and with the hot temperature it was ok. I want to thank the team, they worked really hard with such hot temperatures in the garage, it's like 50 degrees in there so I think also for them it's a tough race! And my family, my girlfriend, they watched me in every practice from Italy even with this schedule."
Race results:
1 - Luca Marini (ITA - Kalex) 38'40.882
2 - Brad Binder (RSA - KTM) +2.296
3 - Iker Lecuona (SPA - KTM) +2.544
Marquez vs Quartararo: the reigning Champion repels the rookie to rule in Buriram
Podium L-R: Binder, Marini and Lecuona

Published : October 06, 2019

By : MotoGP