THAI GP - Bautista returns to top 10 with big fightback2018-10-07 09:20
Ángel Nieto Team rider finishes eighth in Thailand after dropping back to fifteenth in early stages
The MotoGP World Championship made its bow in Thailand in front of 100,000 fans at Buriram, where Marc Márquez moved to within striking distance of another title with a victory that takes him 77 points clear at the top with four rounds remaining. Márquez can wrap it up by finishing ahead of Andrea Dovizioso in Japan, after another race-long duel with the Italian today that saw six overtakes by the Spaniard on the final four laps alone. Dovizioso was only able to respond to five of them, the sixth coming on the exit of the final corner as Márquez took the tighter line and powered to victory. Just behind them Maverick Viñales claimed third place and returned to the podium for the first time since Germany.
Álvaro Bautista has only finished outside the top ten on two occasions since Jerez, both down to crashes, and he maintained his consistent form in the Grand Prix of Thailand. The Ángel Nieto Team rider started from twelfth on the grid but lost positions in the opening corners and found himself with work to do from fifteenth. The Spaniard then made several bold moves and set a pace that for much of the race was quicker than that of the leaders, coming through to take eighth at the flag and close the gap to twelfth in the championship to just two points. Karel Abraham launched from seventeenth on the grid and held firm for the opening laps, before front-end issues cost him a couple of positions. The Czech rider held a consistent pace and with a crash for Dani Pedrosa and a pass on Pol Espargaró he returned to his original starting position.
12th Álvaro Bautista: “We finish in Thailand with eighth place but just six seconds down on the winner, which is more important. It was about the start, when I touched with Morbidelli a few times and lost a lot of ground. For the rest of the race our lap times were competitive so let’s see if we can keep this going in the next races. Along with the team we made a step forward in Aragón and also here, with some fine tuning of the set-up, but we don’t have many more cards up our sleeve. To finish in the top ten is already a good result so let’s see what the next few races bring.”
17th Karel Abraham: “With the heat reflection from the ground it was horribly, horribly hot out there. Normally I don’t use the drinking system but luckily this race I did. In the race I think my start was very good, but unfortunately from the warm up this morning we had an issue with the front end shaking at the end of the straight and this makes the braking pads loose and when you go for the brakes there is nothing there, so you have to pump the brakes. It caught me by surprise a couple of times and I ran completely wide, fortunately not into the gravel but off the track, and I lost a lot. I lost contact with the group around me and then I was behind Pol and every time I got behind him to maybe make a pass I had the shake and had to roll off the throttle. I stayed in contact with him and in the last part of the race I think he had a technical problem because he waved me past. That was the most difficult part of the race because I had eight or ten laps riding on my own. The front was locking but I had to keep pushing to stay clear of the guys behind me, so mentally it was difficult and of course physically too. I was really happy to see the chequered flag. We finished the race and take the experience to Japan. We go there in a good mood to fight for the points.”
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