Marc Marquez has a chance to win his eighth title this weekend as MotoGP heads to Buriram, Thailand.
Marquez has a 98-point advantage and victory will ensure premier class title number six. Essentially, Marquez must score two or more points more than Andrea Dovizioso. He also must leave with an advantage of 100 points or more.
It’s very likely that Marquez will leave Buriram as world champion. However, last year’s inaugural Thailand Grand Prix went down to the wire. The championship leader finally came out on top following a last corner duel with Dovizioso, winning by +0.115s.
Dovizioso will be desperate to return to the top step of the podium and postpone the inevitable. He’s not alone though, Yamaha were also close last year. Who could spoil the title celebrations this weekend?
Yamaha Continue To Push
Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi finished third and fourth respectively at Buriram last year. They weren’t too far behind the leading duo, bringing a welcome change of fortune at that time.
Given current form, it’s expected that Yamaha will be fighting towards the front again this year. Viñales narrowly missed out on a third consecutive podium at Aragon two weeks ago. He appears to have found his rhythm once more and is able to get off the line well. The Spaniard no longer has to fight his way back through the field after a slow start.
Meanwhile, Rossi will have been disappointed with eighth at Aragon. In his previous three race weekends, the Italian had finished fourth. The nine-time champion will be hoping to at least equal his fourth place from 2018. The extra motivation to prevent the title being decided this weekend may help his cause.
The factory Yamaha duo will also be supported by Fabio Quartararo on the Petronas Yamaha. The ever-impressive rookie pushed Marquez all the way at Misano, before securing a quiet fifth at Aragon. The Frenchman also finished fifth in the Moto2 race at Buriram last year.
Quartararo is also battling to become both Rookie of the Year and top Independent Team rider. He has a six-point advantage over Jack Miller in the Independent standings.
Battle For Third
Alex Rins and Danilo Petrucci may be fighting for third in the standings, but both riders are desperate for a return to form. Rins currently has a one-point advantage over Petrucci, however Viñales is now only nine points behind the Suzuki rider as well.
Since his win at Silverstone, Rins has crashed out at Misano and finished a lowly ninth at Aragon. Rins finished last year’s race in sixth, so he will be hopeful of challenging towards the front.
Meanwhile, Petrucci hasn’t finished inside the top six since the German Grand Prix. He’s finished the last two races in 10th and 12th respectively. The Italian finished ninth at Buriram last year, whilst on the Pramac Ducati.
The pressure may be rising on Petrucci, especially with Miller continuing to impress for Pramac. The Australian secured his third podium of the season at Aragon.
Buriram Schedule – UK Time
The weekend’s action begins on Friday (04 October 2019) with Free Practice 1 at 03:55. This will be followed by Free Practice 2 at 08:10.
Saturday’s (05 October 2019) action begins at 03:55 with Free Practice 3, with Free Practice 4 at 07:30. Qualifying 1 begins at 08:10, with Qualifying 2 at 08:35.
Sunday’s warm-up (06 October 2019) will begin at 03:40. The race begins at 08:00.