MotoGP: Martin Wins Breathtaking Race in Thailand

Jorge Martin has taken possibly the best win of his career, eventually coming out on top ahead of his nearest championship rider and one of the hardest racers on the grid. He celebrated like he had won the title, showing just how crucial this victory is for his championship campaign.

With the top three riders covered by less than 0.3 sections, we spent most of the race not knowing who was going to come out on top. Eventually, it was Jorge Martin who came out on top. He battled hard but it was a clean and mistake-free final lap that eventually gave him the win.

Brad Binder fought hard to cross the line in 2nd – however, he faced a post-race penalty for track limits that ultimately demoted him to 3rd. He left everything out on the track today and, in the latter stages of the race, looked like he could be on for his first win of the season.

Binder’s demotion handed 2nd place to our championship leader, Pecco Bagnaia. It wasn’t an easy race for the Italian, who started in 6th, dropped back to 7th and was forced to fight his way up through this field. It was a brilliant recovery rider that allowed him to keep the lead in the title fight, with the final 3 races of the season left.

 

Bagnaia now has just a 13 point lead over Martin, with his lead being cut by 14 points across this weekend. It is looking more likely than ever that this championship will continue to be fought until the final race of the season in Valencia.

Alex Marquez should have been on the podium but he crashed out on lap 14, whilst running 3rd. He was the only rider with a medium rear tire (everyone else ran a hard rear tire) which could have caused his mid-race mistake.

It was a positive day for Fabio Quartararo and Marc Marquez, who came home in 6th and 7th respectively – both riders seem to have found their groove again this weekend and laid down some brilliant moves that showed us why they are champions in their own right.

The top 10 was rounded out by Fabio Di Giannantonio in 9th, who is still desperately seeking a rider for 2024, and Johann Zarco in 10th, who had a difficult day after the highs of his maiden win last weekend.

Image Credit: MotoGP on X
MOMENTUM SHIFT?

Watching Jorge Martin’s celebrations during the cooldown lap and when he returned to parc ferme, you would be forgiven for thinking he had won the championship today. He ripped the windshield off his bike and his visor off his helmet as he celebrated. Instead, he just closed the gap to Pecco Bagnaia by 5 points. However, this race felt like so much more than 25 points.

After two difficult races, with a crash in Indonesia and a bad choice of tires in Australia, it was crucial for Martin to come back stronger than ever. He could have crumbled under the pressure and handed the control over to Bagnaia, but he seems to have come back stronger than ever. This was just the weekend he needed with a dominant sprint race win and today’s breathtaking performance.

Meanwhile, Bagnaia looked very subdued and quiet during the post-race celebrations today. He is still leading the championship fight but he certainly doesn’t look comfortable or confident ahead of the last 3 races of the year.

Regardless of who wins the title, this race is clearly a crucial moment in the championship battle and one we will likely look back on as pivotal in the fight.

 

BEST RACE OF THE SEASON?

Many people across social media and throughout the paddock have hailed this the best race of the season. Seeing the riders watching the key race action in the cool down room, before their podium celebrations, it’s clear that their reactions also matched this.

With just 0.25 seconds covering the top 3 riders as they met the chequered flag, this is the 4th closest podium in the premier class’ history. But this race was so much more than just the top 3 riders – there were battles up and down the field with aggressive, experienced and beautiful moves being made almost every lap.

At one point in the race, Pecco Bagnaia was stuck down in 7th place and seemed unable to make any moves of those ahead of him. To pull it back and salvage a 2nd place, that was almost a race win, shows how phenomenal his performance was. We also had the joy of seeing previous champions, Fabio Quartararo and Marc Marquez enjoying some exciting battles within the top 10.

For so many reasons, this race will clearly go down in history books, with action from start to finish and rider’s prowess shining through.

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP on X

MotoGP: Martin Takes Dominant Sprint Win in Thailand

Jorge Martin has enjoyed a strong Saturday at the Thai GP – he took pole in the morning and followed this up with a very dominant performance in the sprint race. He flew off the line, led every lap, and eventually crossed the line 0.9 seconds ahead of his nearest rival.

After a difficult race in Phillip Island, Jorge Martin has quickly bounced back today at the Chang International Circuit to take his fifth consecutive sprint race win. It was a truly dominant ride after he flew off the line and quickly put clean air between him and the rest of the field. No one could come close to him as he enjoyed a 1+ second lead for the majority of the race.

Our championship leader, Pecco Bagnaia, had a much more difficult day – he arrived in Thailand with a 27 point lead in the championship. However, after coming home in 7th, this has dropped to just 18 points. With 136 points still up for grabs, the 2023 title could go to either rider!

Martin was joined on the podium by Brad Binder, in 2nd, and Luca Marini in 3rd. It was a strong race for both of them as they looked to have good pace and enjoyed a tussle for 2nd place.

Marc Marquez came home in 4th place, after an aggressive last lap fight with Aleix Espargaro. It was a final corner move from Marquez that forced Espargaro to have to settle for 5th.

Image Credit: MotoGP on X
AS IT HAPPENED

Despite rain being forecast for today, the sprint race took place under glorious sunshine. We started with Jorge Martin on pole and championship leader, Pecco Bagnaia starting in 6th.

As the lights went out, Luca Marini, who started in 2nd, did try to take the lead of the race. He pulled up alongside Martin off the line but Martin was clearly ahead by the first corner. By the end of the first lap, Martin was already leading by 0.6 seconds.

It was a very difficult start for Bagnaia who quickly dropped down the order. There was an aggressive early move from Johann Zarco to take 8th away from Bagnaia. A few corners later, Fabio Quartararo made a similar move and pushed Bagnaia down to 10th.

As everyone settled in to the race, we had Martin leading, with Marini in 2nd, Aleix Espargaro in 3rd, Brad Binder in 4th, Marc Marquez in 5th and Marco Bezzecchi in 6th. Just behind them were Alex Marquez, Zarco, Quartararo and Bagnaia who were all battling hard 7th.

On lap 2, Binder shoved his bike up the inside of Espargaro for 3rd. Marc Marquez made a similar move a few corners later and pushed Espargaro down further to 5th.

It was on this same lap that we had our first crash of the race, with Takaaki Nakagami going down at turn 12. He was able to rejoin the race but wasn’t able to make any moves up through the field.

On the following lap, at turn 15, Bezzecchi took 6th position back from Alex Marquez who had bested him on the lap before. This now left Marquez and Zarco battling hard for 7th. After losing a place to Zarco, Marquez came back past him, pushing his way up the inside at turn 12. This move sent both Marquez and Zarco wide, gifting a lucky 7th place to Bagnaia who flew past them both as they rejoined the racing line. This battle allows Marc Marquez, in 6th, to pull out a 1.5 second gap ahead.

Just ahead, on lap 5, Binder in 3rd was now hot on the tail of Marini in 2nd. Binder finally makes a move on the following lap but he goes wide and allows Marini to instantly come back through. It was lap 7 when Binder was finally able to take, and hold, 2nd place. He came through on the final corner in a very tight and aggressive move. All this battling has allowed Espargaro, behind them in 4th, to close the gap down to 0.2 seconds. However, ahead of them all, Martin was now leading by 1.6 seconds.

On the same lap, Augusto Fernandez became the first rider to retire. He went down at the final corner, turn 12, and was unable to rejoin the race. Then, on lap 10, Fabio Di Giannantonio faced a similar fate and was forced to head to the pits and retire the bike after a technical issue.

Meanwhile, on lap 5, Marquez takes 5th place away from Bezzecchi. A few laps later, the VR46 rider ten has Bagnaia all over the back of him too.

On the final lap of the race, and with Martin simply cruising to the line, the drama was still unfolding further down the field. At turn 3, Espargaro goes wide and lets Marquez through for 4th. As Espargaro attempts to regain the position, the pair bump into each other. Espargaro is only ahead for a short while as, on the final corner of the race, Marquez makes a stunning move up the inside to stead 4th as the pair cross the line – a fantastic photo finish!

Image Credit: MotoGP on X

Feature Image Credit: Prima Pramac on X

Moto3: Öncü Takes Thai Pole Position

Deniz Öncü (Red Bull KTM Ajo) took his 3rd pole position of the season today at the Chang International Circuit. Öncü continued his great run of form, from the win last weekend in Phillip Island. 

The fight for the championship is extremely tight in Moto3. Championship leader Jaume Masia (Leopard Racing) starts on row 3 tomorrow, in 7th. Title rival Ayumu Sasaki (Liqui Moly Husqvarna Intact GP) had a great qualifying session and starts from the front row in 3rd. The top 2 in the championship separated by just 4pts coming into this weekend. Diogo Moreira (MT Helmets – MSI) splits Öncü and Sasaki on the front row and starts from 2nd on the grid.

 

Image Credit: Red Bull KTM Ajo on X

QUALIFYING 1


David Munoz (BOE Motorsports) and Stefano Nepa (Angeluss MTA Team) were the surprise names taking part in the Q1 session. In hot muggy conditions, the riders filtered out onto the track to battle it out for a top 4 place.

Munoz set the first lap of the session and half way through, it seemed no rider was willing to set a time on their own. Sitting on the outside of turn’s 8 and 9, riding at a snails pace, everyone was waiting for someone to follow and get a tow. That someone.. was Joel Kelso (CFMOTO Racing PruestelGP).

Just under 7mins remained and a rain flag waved. Thailand’s weather never fails to throw something into the mix on a Grand Prix weekend. All of the riders needed to get a move on and post a fast time as Kelso led a sea of riders over the line to go quickest in the session.

Only a few minutes left and the top 4 going through at this point were Kelso, Munoz, Nepa and Adrian Fernandez (Leopard Racing).

Out of the pits for their final attempt at getting into Q2, there was no real sign of any rain on track, just dark clouds lurking in the distance. As the Thai wildcard for this weekend Krittapat Keankum (Yamaha Thailand Racing – BOE) crashed out, all of everyone’s laps were cancelled.

Subsequently, the top 4 remained unchanged. Kelso, Munoz, Nepa and Fernandez progressed to Q2.

QUALIFYING 2


Öncü led the way and was first to take to the track for the 15min battle for pole position. The first set of flying lap times registered and Moreira took provisional pole position with a 1:42.118. The time to beat was only a couple of tenths shy of the fastest time of the weekend so far.

Öncü returned to the pits after 2 spoiled laps in a row. 1 lap ruined by Moreira barging his way by on his provisional pole lap, and the other after Öncü running wide.

6mins left of the session and Sasaki set a time just +0.001 seconds slower than Moreira, who still held provisional pole at this point. Tactics were a plenty in this session, mostly to avoid traffic and towing round rivals. In the Red Bull KTM Ajo garage, teammate Jose Antonio Rueda was tasked with giving Öncü a tow to finally set a time in the session.

Öncü out of the pits and with a bit of help from Rueda went quickest, with 3 mins left of the session remaining.

Just as Taiyo Furusato (Honda Team Asia) was chasing pole position and red in sectors 1 and 2, both Furusato and Kelso went down at turn 8. Yellow flags then waved in sector 4, as Ryusei Yamanaka (Gaviota GASGAS Aspar Team) crashed out at turn 12. All riders ok though and headed back to the pits.

The crashes late on stopped anyone trying to deny Öncü his third pole position of the season. If Öncü had some consistency with results this year, we could of seen him crowned Moto3 champion. Öncü is 37pts behind in the championship, and with just 100 left available, its going to take a miracle for the Turkish wonderkid to take Moto3 glory this year.

Starting Grid

 

Image Credit: MotoGP

Öncü on Qualifying

Image Credit: Red Bull KTM Ajo on X

Feature Image Credit: MotoGP

Foggia wins in Thailand with faultless performance

Dennis Foggia took a dominant win on the Thai GP making it his third in the past six races, leaving a glimmer of hope that his fight for the championship is still on.

While his championship rivals struggled in qualifying, with Izan Guevara 11th and Sergio Garcia further down in 20th, Foggia lined up on Sunday’s grid with clear track ahead on pole position.

The start couldn’t have gone any better for the Italian, holding his lead and having a clean getaway as Stefano Nepa moved his way up to second after a good start from fourth.

Meanwhile there was drama almost straight away as the first lap came to a close, when championship contender Garcia found himself on the ground after a collision with Adrian Fernandez.

There was a couple of other crashes as the race unfolded, Kaito Toba and John McPhee fell down in separate incidents which brought both of their races to an early close.

Back at the front it was still Foggia out in first as a group of six riders formed in the lead pack. This number slowly began to fall as Jaume Masia, Diogo Moreira and David Muñoz dropped back down the field.

Garcia’s day continued to get worse as he went a lap down at the beginning of lap 12, there was nothing he could do as he let rival Foggia by when the blue flags waved.

Garcia eventually retired to the pits shortly after the halfway point in the race, with the opportunity to score any points well and truly gone.

Credit: Gold & Goose/Red Bull Content Pool

There was little standing in Foggia’s way as the race went on, leading quite comfortably throughout the entire race bar one slight mistake at the end of lap 13 which allowed Ayumu Sasaki into the lead, albeit very briefly as the Italian quickly moved back ahead two corners later.

With a few laps to go and with Foggia pulling away, Sasaki and Riccardo Rossi battled it out for second place which went on right until the final corner on the last lap as Rossi made a last effort move up the inside on his Japanese rival, but had to settle for third after running wide.

But out front there was no stopping Foggia, his win putting on stamp on what was a strong performance at Buriram, winning the race by over 1.5s from second placed Sasaki.

A tense fight for fourth place ended with Nepa taking the position at the line, ahead of championship leader Guevara who took a good haul of points despite a tough weekend.

Three rounds remain and there’s 49 points separating the top two in the championship, but anything can happen as Moto3 heads to Australia in less than two weeks’ time.

Image credit: Gold & Goose/Red Bull Content Pool

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