Top four split by a tenth in Thailand: Dovizioso leads Viñales on Day 1

2018-10-05 08:32
Three manufacturers complete an incredibly tight top four in Buriram - but Lorenzo suffers a huge Turn 3 crash

How close do you like it? After Day 1 at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix it's less than a tenth that splits the top four and Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) who finishes Friday as the fastest man at Buriram. The Italian was only 0.031 faster than FP1’s quickest rider Maverick Viñales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), however, and top Independent Team rider Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) was close – with reigning Champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) in P4 and only 0.098 in arrears. It was far from lonely at the top.

Despite the tight timesheets, one of the biggest headlines of the day was a huge crash for Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) as the Spaniard fell at Turn 3 in the afternoon. Launched over the highside, he later confirmed it was a technical issue that caused the crash. Lorenzo was taken to the Medical Centre for a check up and then hospital in Buriram but declared fit. It did, however, put a dent in his attempts to move into that all-important top ten – and the Spaniard is already riding through the pain barrier following his Turn 1 crash at Aragon.

Back to the front and the gaps remained minimal. Fifth on the combined timesheets was Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), who finished 0.050 behind Marquez to improve from P9 in FP1, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) a further 0.018 in arrears despite a fast crash at Turn 4 in FP2. Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) managed to string a strong second Free Practice session together to end the day seventh fastest, a big improvement from the Spaniard’s P16 result in FP1. He suffered a small crash at Turn 3 but rider ok.
Buriram's fastest in testing, Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team), ended the opening day in eighth after the three-time World Champion improved from P13 in the morning and finished just 0.295 from Dovi’s P1 time. Just behind the Spaniard was FP1’s second quickest man Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), who sits in a provisional Q2 place in ninth and sported Yamaha’s new fairing. Fellow YZR-M1 rider Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3), meanwhile, left it late to grab tenth, ending the day 0.023 off Rossi and 0.331 behind Dovizioso in a tight top ten – much to the chagrin of Jack Miller (Alma Pramac Racing), who was the man to just lose out.

Franco Morbidelli (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) was top rookie in P12 ahead of the man who was the fastest debutant at the test, Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda Idemitsu), with Bradley Smith (Red Bull KTM Factory Racing) and Alex Rins (Team Suzuki Ecstar) locking out the fastest fifteen on Friday. After his crash, Lorenzo was P16.

With less than a tenth splitting the top four and a second separating the top 17, there's everything to play for on Saturday. Tune in for FP3 as the premier class fight it out for that all-important automatic entry to Q2 at 09:55 local time (GMT +7), before qualifying begins at 14:10 local time in Buriram.

Pasini makes it a perfect sweep on Friday

Pasini topped the timesheets in both FP1 and FP2 to head Bagnaia and Marquez into Saturday

After ending FP1 at the top of the timesheets, Mattia Pasini (Italtrans Racing Team) continued his perfect start to the PTT Thailand Grand Prix as he went fastest once again in FP2 and kept hold of the top spot. The Italian set a 1:36.839 to finish 0.142 ahead of Championship leader Francesco Bagnaia (Sky Racing Team VR46), with Alex Marquez (EG 0,0 Marc VDS) 0.298 back but cementing P3 in the afternoon session.

Lorenzo Baldassarri (Pons HP 40) ends Day 1 at Chang International Circuit fourth on the combined timesheets, just 0.008 off Marquez’ time, with fellow Italian Luca Marini (Sky Racing Team VR46) also leaping up the timesheets in the afternoon. It was P14 to P5 for the VR46 Academy rider, who sits half a tenth behind his compatriot as he rounds out the top five.

Just behind him, second Pons HP 40 rider Augusto Fernandez built on his positive FP1 to end the day sixth quickest and continue impressing, only separated from his teammate by Marini. The Spaniard leads the two Red Bull KTM Ajo machines of seventh place Brad Binder – winner in Aragon – and eighth quickest Miguel Oliveira, with the Portuguese rider also a key presence near the top in FP1 as he aims to close down the points gap to Championship leader Bagnaia.

Marcel Schrötter (Dynavolt Intact GP) recovered from an FP1 crash to end the day in ninth, with Fabio Quartararo (MB Conveyors – Speed Up) rounding out the top ten in Thailand as the Frenchman remained in P10 from FP1.

That's it from the intermediate class' first taste of a hot Chang International Circuit. Can anyone stop Pasini’s early Thai GP dominance in qualifying? Time will tell and FP3 begins at 10:55 local time (GMT +7), with qualifying getting underway at 15:05.
Kornfeil quickest out the blocks at Buriram

Sasaki tops FP2 on return from injury but the Czech rider rules the roost on Day 1

Thanks to a 1:43.415 in FP1 at the PTT Thailand Grand Prix, Jakub Kornfeil (Redox PruestelGP) ends Friday as the fastest man in the Moto3™ class after no one could better the time in the afternoon. Ayumu Sasaki (Petronas Sprinta Racing) came closest as he beat Kornfeil into second place in FP2, with the Japanese rider impressing on his return from injury, but it was only 0.052 between the two. Gabriel Rodrigo (RBA BOE Skull Rider) was P3 on the combined timesheets, and he’s still within a tenth of the top.

After the lightweight class’ first taste of Buriram, it looks tight. Fourth overall was Niccolo Antonelli (SIC58 Squadra Corse), who leaped up the timesheets in the afternoon and was still just over a tenth off P1. Fabio Di Giannantonio (Del Conca Gresini Moto3) was another rider to dramatically improve and he went from P21 to P5 to end the day 0.151 down, just 0.013 ahead of Tatsuki Suzuki (SIC58 Squadra Corse). Malaysian rider Adam Norrodin (Petronas Sprinta Racing) similarly enjoyed a much-improved afternoon session to leap up the combined timesheets from P22 to P7.

Eighth overall was John McPhee (CIP – Green Power) but the bigger headline for the Scot was a crash. Suffering a moment out of Turn 6, McPhee recovered before he then lost the front of his KTM, leaving Vicente Perez (Reale Avintia Academy 77) behind him with nowhere to go. Taken to the Medical Centre for a check up, McPhee was later declared fit.

Meanwhile, Marco Bezzecchi (Redox PruestelGP) was ninth overall after finishing the opening session just behind teammate Kornfeil in P2, and the Italian was a faller at Turn 4 early in the session. But his key Championship rival, points leader Jorge Martin (Del Conca Gresini Moto3), could only manage a time quick enough for P21 on the combined times. The Spaniard is only 0.673 down on Kornfeil at the top but it made for an out-of-character Friday. Can he climb his way up the timesheets ahead of qualifying?

Tony Arbolino (Marinelli Snipers Team) completed the top ten on the opening day at Chang International Circuit after some good form, with 0.322 covering P1 to P10 in the lightweight class. What will Saturday bring? Moto3™ FP3 begins at 09:00 local time (GMT +7) before qualifying at 12:35.


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