Thai MotoGP: Winners and Losers after Saturday Qualifying

After an exciting 2nd day of the 15th round of the MotoGP World Championship, we take a look at who’s looking good and who has there work cut out for tomorrow’s race.

Marc Marquez starts from pole position for the 50th time in his premier class career, but it wasn’t all plain sailing for the number 93 Honda.

It started in FP3 when Marquez made a change with the forks, also adjusting the preload of his RC213V. But it seemed Marquez didn’t like the change the Repsol Honda camp made pulling back into the pits with just 3 minutes remaining. With a last couple of minutes dash from the other riders, Marquez soon saw himself drop outside the top 10 as he started his one and only flying lap with just a few seconds to spare as he crossed the stripe. Things looked good for Marquez to slot back inside the top 10 after being just 0.2s out at sector 1. As Marquez got to the end of the straight the Spaniard lost the front into turn 4 meaning Marquez was to go through Q1 for the second time in 2018.

Despite this, Marquez topped Q1 by 0.8s and then took pole position by 0.011s. Marquez is in the driving seat for yet another win, and another step closer to the 2018 championship.

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On paper, the Thailand Grand Prix should be a tough weekend for Yamaha, with track temperatures in the low 50’s but after Friday practice both Yamaha’s looked like they could match the pace of Marquez, with both of the M1’s heading directly into Q2.

Yamaha is on a big win so far this weekend after what was expected to be a horrid weekend after a disastrous winter test at the new Buriram circuit. But Valentino Rossi shut up the critics lining up in 2nd position way under half a tenth of Marquez’s pole lap whilst Maverick Vinales lines up in 4th.

Andrea Dovizioso completes the front row giving the Italian the best chance of beating Marquez tomorrow if Dovizioso wants to keep the championship alive.

Of course, Andrea Dovizioso is the sole Ducati after a monstrous highside for Lorenzo in FP2 forced the Mallorcan to sit out on the sidelines for this weekend.

front row
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After a great double top 5 finish for Suzuki in Aragon, Andrea Iannone keeps the momentum going, as he will line up in 6th place. But it wasn’t all roses for Suzuki with Alex Rins joining Marquez into Q2 but only managed 11th when the flag fell at the end of Q2.

Jack Miller had a strong FP3 putting his Alma Pramac Ducati in 2nd place, but for whatever reason the Aussie failed to repeat his performance in Qualifying, lining up in 10th.

It’s been a strong weekend so far for the two Honda Rookies with both Morbidelli and Nakagami challenging for a Q2 spot. Morbidelli lines up 13th whilst Nakagaami sits alongside him in 14th.

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Jordi Torres has impressed on his first visit to Thailand on the MotoGP bike after beating Thomas Luthi and Scott Redding in Q1. Torres has previous experience of the Chang International Circuit from his World Superbike duties.

After announcing his future in the British Superbike Championship, Scott Redding started Friday well ending FP1 inside the top 10, but a crash in FP2 hampered the 25-year-old. The after-effects of the crash will mean Scott will start stone last for tomorrow’s race.

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