Sunday surgers catch the eye in Thailand

by | Oct 4, 2022 | Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, KTM, motoGP News

Sunday surgers catch the eye in Thailand

Maverick Viñales and Alex Marquez both came from deep on the grid to record impressive recoveries in the wet Buriram conditions

As is the norm, all eyes were focused on the front of the pack as Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) battled Jack Miller (Ducati Lenovo Team) for victory at the Thai GP. Just behind those two, Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo Team) clung on to a podium place with a little help from some friends, with Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Racing) and Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) rounding out the top five.

Outside the podium and victory fights in Buriram, two riders, in particular, caught the eye. Disappointing qualifying sessions saw Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) launch from P17 on the grid, while Alex Marquez (LCR Honda Castrol) was three places further back when the lights went out. With neither rider starting inside the point scoring positions, they could be forgiven for thinking they would endure long and difficult days, but it was actually the opposite.

Sunday surgers catch the eye in Thailand

For Viñales, he’s seen a dip in form recently after a podium rush between our visits to Assen and Misano. Then a P13 in Aragon equalled his second worst finishing position of the campaign, before he bounced back somewhat in Japan with seventh. Sunday in Thailand saw him start P17, drop five positions before climbing 10 to record consecutive P7s, and while they aren’t the results he is targeting, he can take a lot of heart from his wet weather recovery going forward.

Post-race, Viñales admitted that the rain helped mask some of the problems he has been experiencing recently, and that if he performed better during Saturday qualifying, he would have been mixing it with the top riders at the Thai GP.

“In Japan I felt good, here, a bit better than Japan in the wet, because I’m starting to understand the qualities of the bike. Something very interesting for us is on wet, I don’t have issues like I have in the dry, especially on the turning side. So we must learn from that and we must understand something. I mean, today we were lucky it rained, because even in the warm up, I kept working well, I had a good rhythm.

“I didn’t think I was strong enough to do what I did today. But in the end, starting in the front would be a totally different race, I think we were able to be in the top four, top five, which is always a good result. And for me, it’s very important to feel this confidence in the rain, because normally I wasn’t really good in the rain. But on this bike, I can be very strong.”

Up next for Top Gun is Australia and Phillip Island, a circuit he took victory at in 2018, while he has also stood on the box on two other occasions. It could prove a golden opportunity to get himself back among the podium places before he returns to another track he has taken victory at in Malaysia.

Another Sunday surger in Thailand was Alex Marquez. The LCR Honda rider started on the second last row in P20, but came on strong in the rain to claim eighth on the day, a first top 10 since Misano and a fourth of the season.

It’s little surprise to see the Spaniard do well in the mixed conditions, with Marquez having a reputation as something of a wet weather specialist. In 2020, he claimed one of his two premier class podiums in a wet and windy Le Mans at the French GP.

In what has been a difficult season for Marquez and Honda, the 26-year-old can also take confidence out of his performance that saw him climb 13 places and earn a best MotoGP™ finish since his Portimao P7. Despite the excellent showing, he believes that if conditions were dry, he wouldn’t have performed to the same level.  

“Our expectations were high but I did not get the feeling and I was behind so today the rain saved us. That’s the reality. In the warm up, I was struggling already and I thought ‘it will be a long race’, fortunately, the rain came for us and I was really fast in the beginning when there was a lot of water on the track.

“When it started to dry, then I started to suffer. The base setup was too much for wet and not mixed conditions but it is always a balance and you don’t know what will happen in the forty minutes. It is something that we will have experience for the future. I pushed too much in the beginning to make the position and I used a bit too much the rear tyre. Happy for the result. I lost two positions in the last three laps but I was like on the limit and there was not much more I could do.”

Like Viñales, Marquez has some history at our next two destinations. In 2019 he clinched the Moto2™ Championship at Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit, while he also took a crucial podium at Phillip Island in 2014 on his way to the Moto3™ title.

Both riders will be hoping to draw on their previous successes to help build on the strong showings in Thailand. First up is the Australian GP, which gets underway on October 14th. Make sure you tune in then!

VideoPass allows you to watch every single second of every single sector LIVE and OnDemand

Source link


Minibikes Draw Maxi-Attention at Barrett-Jackson Auction

This Honda CB175 was one of many small-displacement bikes sold at the Barrett-Jackson auction in Scottsdale, Arizona, January 22-30, 2022. Photos by the author. The Barrett-Jackson automobile auction is an annual extravaganza with a major stop staged at Westworld in...

Triumph Extends Moto2 Partnership Until 2029

Triumph Motorcycles has signed a new contract to remain an Exclusive Engine Supplier for the FIM Moto2™ World Championship for another five seasons. Triumph is developing a full new race gearbox, which will debut in the 2025 season, alongside improvements for the 2024...

2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350

2021 Royal Enfield Meteor 350 (Fireball trim) (Royal Enfield/)UpsThe beginner cruiser market gains one more competitorImpressive, well-balanced handlingEngine power may not be jaw-dropping, but its mild-mannered delivery and lack of vibration provides a very relaxed...

2022 BMW R nineT/Pure

2022 BMW R nineT Pure. (BMW/)UpsNew Euro 5 cylinder heads produce better low-midrange torqueElectronic rider aids standard across all modelsUpdated rear shockDownsNo tachometer or gear indicator on Pure modelSeat uncomfortable on longer ridesFront suspension a bit...

BMW Motorrad Days to return to the Alps

BMW Motorrad Days will return to Garmisch-Partenkirchen for 2024 after two years away. Garmisch-Partenkirchen has hosted the annual festival eighteen times before, however for the last two years the event has moved to Berlin. Back in the Alps again this year between 5...

2021 Kawasaki Z900RS/Café

2021 Kawasaki Z900RS. (Kawasaki/)UpsClassic replica styling of the original Z1Modern chassis, suspension, brakes, wheelsDownsUnder 100 hp fromSuspension a bit softVerdictRetro classic fever caught on big with the motorcycle industry in the latter half of the past...

PATENTS: HONDA’s designs for ‘traffic monitoring’ cameras

The Japanese factory has just filed patents for a new camera system, which collects and deciphers information about the traffic ahead. Honda may not have released any bikes with radar technology just yet, but that doesn’t mean its not serious about technology that’ll...

2022 Yamaha YZF-R7 World GP 60th Anniversary Preview

The newest member of Yamaha’s sportbike line, the YZF-R7 will come in special World GP 60th Anniversary dress in 2022. (Yamaha/)In celebration of 60 years of World Grand Prix competition, Yamaha is releasing a number of anniversary edition sportbikes for the 2022...

Single and ready to mingle: Ducati’s Hypermotard 698 Mono

Introducing the latest addition to the Ducati Hypermotard family – the 698 Mono. This new model, unveiled today, boasts a single-cylinder engine known as the ‘Superquadro Mono’. The Ducati Hypermotard 698 Mono boasts class-leading supermoto performance as the first...

Top 5 Affordable Motorcycles of 2023

Capable on-road or off, Kawasaki’s KLR650 has been a stalwart—and inexpensive—ADV companion for more than 30 years. (Kawasaki/)It’s probably no secret that frequently searched web posts usually have the words “affordable” or “cheap” in them. Maybe it’s a sign of the...