MotoGP Buriram Results 2019

On a day completely bereft of surprise, Marc Marquez secured his sixth MotoGP world championship and eighth title overall with a merciless win over ascendant French rookie Fabio Quartararo. As he did in Misano back in September, Marquez spent the day glued to Quartararo’s back wheel, again testing young Fabio’s resistance to pressure. Finally, in the last turn of the last lap he broke the rookie’s heart with the expected cutback move and sprint to the flag. These, then, are the opening shots in what promises to be the next great rivalry in grand prix motorcycle racing.

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Just like he did at Misano, Marc Marquez poked and prodded at Fabio Quartararo before finding an opening on the final lap and captured the win.

By clinching the premier class title with four (4!) rounds remaining in the season, Marquez has freed us from having to pay too much attention to the big bikes for the next month. With 325 points in hand, he may make a run at the all-time season points record of 383 in MotoGP, feeding his discernible addiction to winning even when it’s not necessary. Less likely is his treating the remnant of the season as a six-week testing session, preparing to decimate the field again in 2020. Whatever. Any of y’all wishing to make a case for him not being one of the all-time greats in this sport please go outside and shake yourselves.

Practice and Qualifying

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Fabio Quartararo led a Yamaha contingent at the top of the FP2 leaderboard.

Friday once again belonged to the Yamaha cabal, with all four bikes ending the day in the top five. The Petronas satellite team acquitted themselves particularly well again, with Quartararo sitting on top of the pile and teammate Franco Morbidelli third. (One hesitates to observe that these lofty accomplishments generally occur on Fridays, which is the racing equivalent of a matrimonial rehearsal dinner.) It took Yamaha Racing 15 rounds to remove the RPM limiter from Quartararo’s M1 software, giving him 500 more to work with, and he took advantage.

Factory Yamaha dudes Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi wedged themselves into second and fifth places, respectively, with Australian Jack Miller and his Ducati interloping in third. Marquez landed, literally, in sixth place after his most impressive high-side crash in years taking place at Turn 7 in FP1, after which he dropped in at a local hospital, laid around for a little while in the air conditioning, returning later in the session to take his place in the top ten. At times, the Ant Man seems indestructible.

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Heavy rains on Saturday caused delays in the race schedule, and the results of FP3 were pretty much rendered inconsequential.

Torrential rain, seemingly a tourist attraction in this part of the world, struck early Saturday morning, putting FP3 on rain tires and rendering Friday’s results decisive as regards automatic Q2 entrants. Among those who would have to fight their way into the pole fight were Danilo Petrucci, Pecco Bagnaia, Cal Crutchlow and a wounded Pol Espargaro, wrestling his KTM RC16 with one arm, a good-sized titanium plate in his left wrist courtesy of his calamity in Aragon two weeks ago.

Q1 saw Espargaro and Petrucci pass through into Q2, leaving Crutchlow on the outside looking in by 13/1000ths.

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Fabio Quartararo set a new lap record of 1:29.719 in taking pole position.

Q2 was about as exciting as it gets in this game. The former track record, set by Marquez last year, got hammered by three riders, with Quartararo emerging as the proud new owner. He was joined on the front row by Viñales and Marquez, who was on pace for pole when he lost the front at Turn 5. Rossi had crashed out a bit earlier, and Quartararo a few moments later. Morbidelli headed Row 2, joined by Petrucci and Miller. Rossi and Dovizioso would start Sunday from Row 3, portending some kind of Thai-themed championship celebration on Sunday afternoon, as Dovi was the only man standing between Marquez and his eighth world championship and fourth in a row in the premier class.

The Race

Had there not been a championship in the balance, today’s tilt would have been a parade, albeit one held in an autoclave. The heat and humidity were hellish; Petrucci, sitting in his garage prior to taking to the track, looked as if he might spontaneously combust. By contrast, the 95,000 locals in the stands, accustomed to life in these conditions, appeared cool and comfortable. Oddly, there were way more red #93 grandstanders than there were yellow #46 disciples. Perhaps it was the locale; perhaps that particular tide is turning. Either way, Valentino Rossi was just another rider today. What little action there was took place well in front of him.

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Fabio Quartararo and Marc Marquez shot out ahead from the start, kicking off a race-long duel for the lead.

Once the lights went out, Marquez and Quartararo went off for their private tête à tête. Viñales and Dovizioso settled in well behind them, with Morbidelli, Joan Mir and Rossi trailing them. The Suzukis of Mir and Alex Rins were nosing around but posed no threat to podium. Other than a few unforced crashes and Aleix Espargaro’s customary mechanical failure, nothing much happened until the last few laps. Marquez took a swing at Quartararo on Lap 23, failed, took another on Lap 25, failed again, then made it stick on Lap 26.

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It was a nightmare start for Jack Miller as his Ducati stalled on the grid, forcing him to start the race from pit lane.

Miller stalled his Ducati right before the start, then spent the day pedaling furiously, ultimately finishing 14th. Cal “Who Cares Anymore?” Crutchlow started 13th and finished 12th. And Jorge Lorenzo’s ongoing humiliation was complete, as he started 19th and finished 18th, 54 seconds behind Marquez. That he will probably end up included in the Repsol Honda team championship win come November is simply an historical accident.

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It was another podium for Fabio Quaratararo but eventually he’ll need to start doing better on Sundays than he does on Saturdays.

As a reminder that I am an equal opportunity offender, I am compelled to point out that young Fabio is continuing the French tradition established by Randy de Puniet of mostly finishing lower than he qualifies. In 15 rounds this year, he has qualified better than he finished 10 times. Sure, he’s a brilliant prospect with a bright future. But at this tender point in his evolution he is channeling RdP. Just sayin’.

Moto2

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Luca Marini, Valentino Rossi’s half brother, took his second career Moto2 win. Meanwhile, Marc Marquez’s brother Alex remains comfortably on top of the championship standings, leading Augusto Fernandez by 40 points.

Despite qualifying on pole, series leader Alex Marquez did not have a great day today, finishing fifth behind Luca Marini, Brad Binder, Iker Lecuona and Augusto Fernandez in an exciting race for second place, Marini having gone off on his own early and winning easily. Fortunately for Marquez, his main rival in 2019, Jorge Navarro, had a rotten day, starting 22nd and finishing outside the points as Fernandez took over second place for the year.

Young Alex, however, has learned big brother Marc’s trick of winning while losing, extending his series lead to 40 points with four rounds left. He appears poised to clinch his first Moto2 title in Australia or Malaysia. He will remain in Moto2 next season awaiting a choice ride and two-year MotoGP contract in 2021. As a footnote, KTM claimed two podium spots today, and their rookie Jorge Martin enjoyed his best outing to date, finishing sixth.

Moto3

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Lorenzo dalla Porta fought to hold onto second after leading most of the race. With Aron Canet crashing, dalla Porta’s efforts stretched his lead from a tight 2 points to a much more comfortable 22.

The lightweight world championship, tight as wallpaper heading to Thailand, took a hit today on Lap 8, when “Dive Bomb” Darryn Binder initiated a crash which removed Aron Canet, John McPhee and, briefly, Tatsuki Suzuki from the proceedings. Having lived up to his nickname, Binder was assigned a ride through penalty. (In an apparent Act of Contrition he also voluntarily took a long lap penalty.)

Series leader Lorenzo dalla Porta led the race for most of the day before getting caught up in a frantic fustercluck at Turn 12 on the last lap, losing out to Albert Arenas and just barely crossing the line in front of Alonso Lopez and Marcos Ramirez, all four riders within 4/10ths of a second of one another. The day’s events left dalla Porta 22 points ahead of a seething Canet, who left the track immediately after the race to have some harsh anti-Binder tattoos added to his already impressive ink collection.

MotoGP Tranches

MotoGP Tranches

After Aragon:

Tranche 1: Marc Marquez
Tranche 2: Andrea Dovizioso, Alex Rins, Fabio Quartararo, Valentino Rossi, Maverick Vinales, Franco Morbidelli, Jack Miller
Tranche 3: Danilo Petrucci, Joan Mir, Takaa Nakagami, Miguel Oliveira, Cal Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro
Tranche 4: Aleix Espargaro, Pecco Bagnaia, Andrea Iannone, Mike Kallio
Tranche 5: Jorge Lorenzo, Karel Abraham, Hafizh Syahrin, Tito Rabat

After Buriram:

Tranche 1: Marc Marquez
Tranche 2: Andrea Dovizioso, Alex Rins, Fabio Quartararo, Valentino Rossi, Maverick Vinales, Franco Morbidelli, Jack Miller
Tranche 3: Danilo Petrucci, Joan Mir, Takaa Nakagami, Pecco Bagnaia, Cal Crutchlow, Pol Espargaro
Tranche 4: Aleix Espargaro, Miguel Oliveira, Andrea Iannone, Mike Kallio
Tranche 5: Jorge Lorenzo, Karel Abraham, Hafizh Syahrin, Tito Rabat

A Look Ahead

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Marc Marquez has finished either first or second in every round this year except for COTA (a track he normally dominates).

Two weeks until the start of the dreaded Pacific Swing, a three-rounds-in-three-weeks bane to riders, crews and the journalists contracted to cover it. As promised, we will focus our attention on Moto2 and Moto3 while giving short shrift to MotoGP. I will be plumbing the depths of my ignorance of the riders and teams and relying on my warehouse full of clichés and old jokes to get me through to Valencia. In addition, I have a little over a month to come up with a pithy quote to summarize the MotoGP season. I’m hoping to find one that fits a sporting season characterized by the utter domination thereof by one of the competitors. Readers are encouraged to submit suggestions via the comments section below.

Congratulations to Marc Marquez for being one of the dominant athletes of his generation in any sport in the world. Even if one is partial to Valentino Rossi-flavored Kool-Aid, you must tip your hat to the accomplishments, and those to come, of #93.

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Marc Marquez now just one less premier class title than Valentino Rossi and two behind Giacomo Agostini on the all-time list.

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