2018 Buriram MotoGP Race Result: A Memorable First Time

A hot and humid scene was set for the historic first premier class grand prix in Thailand and 100.000 people showed up to see a seventh win of the season for reigning world champion Marc Marquez, who had the measure of Ducati – only just – to put another finger on his seventh title. The Battle of Buriram was a hot one in more ways than one and it was Andrea Dovizioso’s turn to be the losing side in another last lap decider with Marquez. A resurgent Yamaha duo were resigned observers of the exchange but Maverick Viñales would have been somewhat relieved to see the podium again.

The front row men, starting with poleman Marquez, kept position at the start, although Cal Crutchlow did have a quick go at the Ducati straight away. Viñales made a decent start for a change to only lose one position to Crutchlow but was soon under assault from Johann Zarco. Andrea Iannone had a bad launch off the line, while Jack Miller and Dani Pedrosa went wide at the first corner, all three riders losing a couple of positions early on and mixing with Alex Rins and Danilo Petrucci.

The front row men maintained status quo while posting red sectors all throughout the first handful of laps but Valentino Rossi was able to attack in the slipstream of the Honda at the start of lap five. Once Rossi went into the lead of the race, Dovizioso also pounced on the world championship leader later that lap as Marquez was unusually slow but the leaders were slowly stretching the pack behind. Crutchlow was keeping close to the lead trio but Viñales looked like he was struggling to keep within touch and Zarco was another six tenths back. Miller, Rins and Pedrosa were the next feisty pack half a second down the road and fighting to recover from their respective lap one niggles.

Rossi enjoyed his time in the spotlight but the Jaws soundtrack started playing as Dovizioso, Marquez, Crutchlow and Viñales were posting nearly identical times close behind him. The sole Ducati made its move on lap 11 as Rossi lost momentum out of turn one and allowed both Dovizioso and Marquez to sweep past. Meanwhile, Zarco was almost falling for Rins and Pedrosa’s advances, the two Spaniards the fastest men on track at the time and pushing Zarco to catch up with the leaders. The gap between the two groups dissolved completely by the midpoint of the race, making it a seven-way battle for the podium.

Marquez and Rossi were keeping it cool behind Dovizioso for the next few laps, with Crutchlow and Viñales close by but with no real chance to attack. Barely three tenths back, Rins and Pedrosa were aided by a mistake from Zarco and advanced a position, while Miller was yoyo-ing between the leaders and Danilo Petrucci behind him.

The main pack settled their times for the middle part of the race and prepared for a fast final ten laps. Marquez kick-started proceedings by posting a circuit record worthy time on lap 17 and the top three were putting daylight into the rest of the group, Crutchlow not helped by Viñales and Pedrosa’s attacks and quickly falling behind Rins as well. As soon as Viñales was unleashed from the slower Honda, the Spaniard started posting red sectors and was catching up with the leaders. So was Pedrosa but his momentum stopped in turn five as the front wheel tucked and his Honda gently pushed him off with eight laps left. There was no stopping Viñales though and he attacked his teammate as they started the final six laps and started clawing back a half second deficit to the two leaders.

With four laps remaining, Marquez made a first but unsuccessful attack at turn three on Dovizioso, with Vinales biding his time just behind the duo and Rossi a second back and hoping to pick up the pieces. Marquez made another couple of attempts on the next lap but the Ducati fought straight back, the shenanigans allowing the Yamahas to stay in contention.

Dovizioso just about started the final lap in the lead as he overtook Marquez in turn one but could only hold off the Spaniard for half a lap until turn five delivered an aggressive blow from the Honda. That was not nearly the end of the story, Dovizioso planning an attack in the final turn but Marquez took a page out of the Italian’s book and anticipated the move, roles reversed as Marquez allowed Dovizioso through only to cut back and cross the line a tenth of a second ahead of his rival.

There was not much more Dovizioso could have done on his ride to runner up, Viñales ultimately not getting a say in the win but making a long awaited trip to the podium. Rossi had an excellent view of the podium fight but settled for fourth while a late resurgence from Zarco saw him get past Rins to grab fifth – overall a great day for Yamaha. Rins finished sixth, three seconds ahead of Crutchlow and with Alvaro Bautista, Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller completing the top ten.

Marquez’s hard fought victory adds a little extra to his already sizeable championship lead, now 77 points ahead, while Dovizioso consolidates second place ahead of Rossi.


Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 39'55.722
2 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +0.115
3 25 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +0.270
4 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +1.564
5 5 Johann ZARCO Yamaha +2.747
6 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +3.023
7 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +6.520
8 19 Alvaro BAUTISTA Ducati +6.691
9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +9.944
10 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +11.077
11 29 Andrea IANNONE Suzuki +15.488
12 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN Yamaha +17.691
13 41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia +21.413
14 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Honda +22.802
15 38 Bradley SMITH KTM +23.628
16 45 Scott REDDING Aprilia +23.804
17 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +32.507
18 10 Xavier SIMEON Ducati +37.216
19 81 Jordi TORRES Ducati +39.204
20 12 Thomas LUTHI Honda +39.421
21 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +53.388
22 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda 2 Laps
    Not Classified    
  26 Dani PEDROSA Honda 8 Laps
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Buriram looked packed to capacity and the circuit threw up 3 fantastic races. Marc did a fantastic job of clawing one final corner move back on Dovi. More than any other two racers in recent history, the pair of them seem to be joined at the hip when it comes to last lap, last corner showdowns. High fives to the pair of them. Brutal, incredible skill , race management, respect and no animosity...for now. Marc deservedly has one arm wrapped around the trophy for sure and contracted to 2020 with HRC. I'm already wondering about silly season 2020. Surely he will want to do it again on another marque. Good to see the M1's come to play for a change. Props to Michelin too. Good job. Dovi, it must be said proved his stature at Ducati again. I think he will be even tougher next year as the clear #1 in that team for the first time since joining team red. One can expect a massive tug'o war at HRC next year, which Marc will probably win. He is more than a bit Doohan'esque. I felt for #26 Dani. I reckon he would have been up there in the last lap with Maverick and Vale had he not been f....d by the fickle finger of fate. Salute ! Thailand, Chang Circuit and all present and inolved.

Why would Marc leave HRC? HRC is the biggest name in the sport!

It was a great weekend (as long as you didn’t have to work in that heat and humidity). The temperature and tyres offered Yamaha a great result, which they very nearly achieved. The tales of Yamaha re-structuring and getting moving on development is good to hear, but the only thing that counts, and which I hope is not a season away, is results. The spice added by competitive Yamahas, and desperately needed by Rossi, is also what we all need for MotoGP’s golden age.

Motegi will indeed be interesting. But I’m not holding my breath for Rossi and Viñales.

Yes, one 'not terrible' round does not equal a recovery. We need to see a good recovery for all the remaining rounds before we can say there's any evidence at all. After all, what has changed?

A perceived observation (no I'm not going over all the results to prove it). When the Yam is at a really bad round (most of them), VR appears to be better at managaing the bad with respect to MV and finishes ahead of MV. When on the rare occasion there is a round where the bike is not so bad (like yesterday), MV manages the bike better than VR (and achieves a better result). Not good news for VR, because if they did improve the bike (I still think unlikely any time soon), he has got a faster teamate to contend with, let alone all the talent and fast bikes all around. His chance of one last WC went in 2015.

I thought of that too at first... But then no. Age definitely is a factor and probably means a a tenth less in pure speed. Which on a very fast day will count. But yesterday the pace was too slow for that little tenth to count. And the mere fact that Vinales never stood a chance to really catch Dovi and MM is proof that probably none of the 2 Yamaha could really make it. The time differece between the two does not reflect the reality: the Italian lost time when he tried that too overconfindent dive on the Spanish... For a moment I thought disaster! He will take him out.

The only major change for Yamaha this weekend is the new Michelin hard tire. And this does not bode well... As that tire will never be used again in the next races.

One thought on tires: shouldn't tires enhance the bikes performance instead of limiting it? Honesty, yesterday race was painful to watch for the first 20 laps.... Expecially after watching moto 2....

Now back to the main subject: I don't know how the old dog will fare in the next two years. But so far I don't think that when the bike sort of works Vinales does better: Asssen comes to mind.

Also I think he had a fair chance at the championship title in 2016... Bad luck in Mugello and a rookie mistake in Assen changed the course of things... Then by midsummer Honda and Ducati made some steps forward and Yamaha started going backwards

One final thought: IMO when one belongs to that kind of racers breed you find a way to compensate the lack of 1 or 2 tenths in sheer speed. As long as your bike is really competitive.

If Yamaha can deliver a good bike that can seriously compete with Honda and Ducati I think that the italian can still grace us with some thrilling moments

The hard rear used at Buriram is very similar to the hard rear used in Austria. Same casing, and heat-resistant construction. 

I don't want to sound petulant but I think I heard Taramasso explain that this was a one off specifically prepared for Buriram. And different from any other tire used so far.

Maybe I misunderstood... 

If I did my apologies.


During MotoGP FP1 the commentators mentioned that unlike other tracks, the Chang circuit does not get "greasy" when hot (I suspect a highly polymer modifed asphalt binder with lowered temperature sensitivity was used).  Since the YZF-M1 has been at its worst in lower traction conditions, it is not surprising that the relative pace of the Yamahas was better than usual last weekend.

Picked up drunken noodles with tofu to enjoy during the race. The Thai round went well.

With the Yanaha mysteriously performing again under these conditions I found myself contemplating our current ztate of affairs. Examining the Ducati, Honda, Yanaha and Suzuki bikes and their traits on display. Ended up having a repeat of a "pinch me" dreaming moment. The Ducati is the best bike on the grid. And our little engine that could, good old blue collar Dovisioso is the one taking it to Marquez and HRC. Dovi has poise. His bike can carve! On the brakes there was lots of on the limit dueling, and the Ducati offers stability. It gets into corners just fine too, quite maneuverable. The drive out, this motor and salad box with that mechanical grip, wow. The Red revolution is complete. Bravo Bologna! And Dovi. Is anyone else very much looking forward to Bagnaia on the Duc as we see the bike on display? I am salivating. He looks as solid and promising a rookie since Marquez to Honda. Dovisioso, such an unlikely frint runner in my mind. I love watching this very human guy excel. I feel the same way about Crutchlow (albeit that he is diametrically opposed in wild eyed bronco zeal)...hard working terrestrials

Hats off to several strong rides. Crutchlow was RIGHT there until tires dropping right at the end. Miller had a good go for a while. Zarco did a lot with that package again. Dani. Solid showing again from Rins, who is on a steady rise. Valentino was doing the business, and at his age this is miraculous. But Vinales is my rider of the day. Great ride.

I fully anticipate that Yamaha has a 2019 bike with a much more tractable motor. They have brought new people in for the elctronics end of the program. I was surprised to hear that the bright star on this horizon came from WSBK of all places, and not Magneti Marelli (please tell me they have one person on that new team in Italy from MM). What do you think? Was 2017-2018 a exceptional blip for Yamaha, or has their project taken a turn towards mediocrity? I think blip. Their adjustment to this era's tires and electronics has been rather slow. Or perhaps the rate of radical transformation of the Honda project needs more appreciation as juxtaposed. Honda was in deeper shite a few years ago with further to get their bike changed. The Yamaha will come back next season, albeit with some teething to do.

I hope Jorge heals up well and quickly. That was a nasty off. He hit the ground HARD, like gold helmet and lolipops hard. He would have been an interesting factor in these last two races on track. I would like to see him challenge for the win on the Ducati again before he joins Honda. 2019 is looking very interesting eh?!

Here we go with quite a rally of events. After this week we go back to back weekends Motegi, Phillip Island, Sepang...boom boom boom. There is much to see and appreciate, very much looking forward to enjoying every bit.