Marc Marquez is one victory away from clinching the 2018 MotoGP world championship after winning another thrilling battle with Andrea Dovizioso in Thailand. The inaugural Grand Prix in Buriram produced a memorable spectacle as the title rivals fought to the finish with Yamaha duo Maverick Vinales and Valentino Rossi also close behind, but Marquez emerged ahead after a final corner duel to claim his seventh win of the season.
In intense heat, all of the frontrunners opted for Michelin’s hardest option with a race of tyre management lying ahead. The lead changed hands several times in the early laps as Marquez, Rossi and Dovizioso all took turns at the front but with no-one prepared to push to the limit initially, the front group remained close together.
Shortly after half distance, Dovizioso upped the pace with the leading pack immediately shrinking to four riders as Cal Crutchlow faded backwards and Dani Pedrosa crashed out. Ultimately, the only rider capable of attacking the Ducati was Marquez and after several failed attempts on the brakes, the two remained locked together heading into the last lap.
Dovizioso resisted the Honda through the first sector as three key overtaking spots passed by but an opportunistic dive into turn five saw Marc hit the front. The heavy stop into the final corner was Dovizioso’s last chance and although he made it to the apex first, Marquez slipped back underneath the no.04 to claim victory by just a tenth of a second.
Vinales was only a tenth further back in third with Rossi completing the leading quartet in fourth as Yamaha enjoyed a welcome return to form. Johann Zarco underlined the improved performance of the YZR-M1 with fifth ahead of Alex Rins while Crutchlow fell to seventh, narrowly holding off Alvaro Bautista’s Angel Nieto Ducati.
The Pramac Ducatis of Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller rounded out the top ten, just ten seconds behind the winner at flag-fall.
2018 PTT Thailand Grand Prix (Result)
|1||93. Marc Marquez||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||39:55.722||25|
|2||4. Andrea Dovizioso||Ducati||Ducati Team||+0.115||20|
|3||25. Maverick Vinales||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+0.270||16|
|4||46. Valentino Rossi||Yamaha||Movistar Yamaha MotoGP||+1.564||13|
|5||5. Johann Zarco||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+2.747||11|
|6||42. Alex Rins||Suzuki||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||+3.023||10|
|7||35. Cal Crutchlow||Honda||LCR Honda Castrol||+6.520||9|
|8||19. Alvaro Bautista||Ducati||Angel Nieto Team||+6.691||8|
|9||9. Danilo Petrucci||Ducati||Alma Pramac Racing||+9.944||7|
|10||43. Jack Miller||Ducati||Alma Pramac Racing||+11.077||6|
|11||29. Andrea Iannone||Suzuki||Team Suzuki ECSTAR||+15.488||5|
|12||55. Hafizh Syahrin||Yamaha||Monster Yamaha Tech 3||+17.691||4|
|13||41. Aleix Espargaro||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+21.413||3|
|14||21. Franco Morbidelli||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+22.802||2|
|15||38. Bradley Smith||KTM||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+23.628||1|
|16||45. Scott Redding||Aprilia||Aprilia Racing Team Gresini||+23.804|
|17||17. Karel Abraham||Ducati||Angel Nieto Team||+32.507|
|18||10. Xavier Simeon||Ducati||Reale Avintia Racing||+37.216|
|19||81. Jordi Torres||Ducati||Reale Avintia Racing||+39.204|
|20||12. Thomas Luthi||Honda||EG 0,0 Marc VDS||+39.421|
|21||43. Pol Espargaro||KTM||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||+53.388|
|NC||30. Takaaki Nakagami||Honda||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||+2 Laps|
|NC||26. Dani Pedrosa||Honda||Repsol Honda Team||+8 Laps|
|NS||99. Jorge Lorenzo||Ducati||Ducati Team||Injured|