The Grand Prix of Thailand changed the face of the 2022 MotoGP championship, with rain throwing a spanner in the works for Fabio Quartararo. Neil Morrison, Adam Wheeler, and David Emmett chew over the results, and examine how it played out. We start, of course, with what went wrong for Quartararo, and how tire pressure impacted his race. We go through the compromises teams have to make when setting up bikes for the wet, and the guesses they have to make about the weather.
After a weekend of waiting, the rain finally came on Sunday. It had been forecast for Friday, but Friday stayed dry. It was forecast again on Saturday, but Saturday was dry as well. In the run up to the Grand Prix of Thailand, Sunday had looked like offering the best chance of remaining dry. But that forecast proved to be wrong as well.
The trouble started as the Moto2 race was about to get underway. A few raindrops on the grid quickly turned into a downpour. After a brief delay, the organizers started the race, but it would only last 8 laps before conditions forced Race Direction to red flag it, spray and standing water making it impossible to complete the race safely.
Several abortive attempts to restart the race followed, but when another downpour started as the Moto2 bikes got halfway round the track on the sighting lap to the grid, the red flag went out again and the race was called. With less than two-thirds distance completed, half points were awarded, much to the consternation of anti-decimal faction of the MotoGP paddock who abhor the ugliness of a points table which does not consist solely of integers.
MotoGP standings after Buriram:
Results and summary of the MotoGP race at Buriram:
Results and summary of the Moto2 race at Buriram:
Moto3 standings after Buriram:
Results and summary of the Moto3 race at Buriram:
Saturday at Buriram gave us a glimpse of the future. If you want to know what the sprint races will look like next year, look no further than the fact that Ducati have secured their sixth front-row lockout of the season, that there were five Ducatis in the first two rows, and that there were two more on the third row. It was the thirteenth time a Ducati qualified on pole this year, in seventeen events.
Only Fabio Quartararo (Indonesia), Aleix Espargaro (Argentina and Barcelona), and Marc Marquez (Motegi) have prevented Ducati from sweeping an entire season's worth of poles. Pecco Bagnaia is just two races away from winning the BMW M award as best qualifier, which features seven Ducati riders in the top nine.
The bike really does play a very large role in that dominance of qualifying. With his breathtaking last lap, breaking Fabio Quartararo's pole record from 2019, Marco Bezzecchi became the seventh Ducati rider to secure pole this year. Only Bezzecchi's Mooney VR46 teammate Luca Marini is letting the side down, though Marini has been close, starting from the front row twice this year.
Results and summary of qualifying for the MotoGP class at Buriram:
The final practice session of the premier class was yet another opportunity for the Ducatis to show off, with Johann Zarco back at the helm, ahead of Motegi winner Jack Miller and the ever-impressive Marco Bezzecchi. Brad Binder was also in the mix, posting an identical time to Jorge Martin – the two completing the top five of the session, covered by two tenths of a second. Another half a tenth behind was the somewhat unexpected Yamaha battle, with Franco Morbidelli finishing just ahead of Fabio Quartararo, for the first time in quite a while.