Championship leader Marc Marquez has taken pole position in Thailand, narrowly beating Valentino Rossi on the revitalized Yamaha by just 0.011 of a second. Andrea Dovizioso will complete the front row.
Marquez didn’t take pole the easy way, as he had to progress through Q1 following a crash in FP3 – becoming the first ever rider to take pole after starting in Q1. Marquez topped the Q1 session almost 9 tenths of a second ahead of Alex Rins in P2, finishing on a faster lap in Q1 than his eventual pole lap. Franco Morbidelli just missed out on Q2 and will start the race from 13th on the grid, after finishing 0.002 behind Rins.
Marquez dominated Q2 in the first runs, with only Dovizioso able to get close. When the second runs started though it was Rossi that pleased the crowds, surging to the top of the times only to be narrowly beaten by Marquez shortly after. Other riders that looked strong during the session were Andrea Iannone and Dani Pedrosa, but neither managed to complete a perfect lap. Despite this, they could still be in the mix for the top spots tomorrow.
Yamaha have had a miserable time recently, having now surpassed their longest ever period without a win in MotoGP. However, this weekend they look to have found extra performance that they have been seeking for so long, with both riders very fast in practice sessions. Rossi’s teammate Maverick Viñales finished 4th in qualifying and Rossi’s long run pace especially looks promising for the race tomorrow.
Dovizioso is strong on the Ducati, so we could see a race between three different manufacturers tomorrow rather than the Honda vs Ducati that we have become accustomed to recently. The Ducati factory team will now have just one rider in the battle though, with Jorge Lorenzo deciding not to race this weekend after obtaining further injury from a huge highside during FP2. He is still carrying a foot injury after his lap 1 crash in Aragon and has now suffered a hairline fracture in his arm.
2018 MotoGP PTT Thailand Grand Prix – qualifying results:
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