Chang, Thailand

2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Saturday Round Up: "Every Time, The Media Looks At The Lap Times And Makes A Mistake"

It is always easy to get carried away by testing. Seeing a particular rider at the top of the timesheets, it is tempting to start constructing a narrative which sees that rider dominate the season, while writing off the rest. That, of course, is nearly always a mistake. And in the case of the second day at Buriram, Thailand, it is definitely a mistake.

That doesn't mean Marc Márquez won't be fast for the rest of the year, as well as Saturday in Thailand. He has won the MotoGP title in four of his five seasons in the class, so topping the timesheets was not, as one journo joked, because Michelin gave him special tires for his birthday. Márquez had been fast, and consistently so, through both the Sepang and Buriram tests so far. But the order behind Márquez probably doesn't reflect the true relative strength of the field.

The reason? Tires, of course. On Saturday, Michelin brought a new rear tire for the riders to test, after the rears used on Friday had shown some signs of degradation. The original allocation of rear tires were the same as used at Brno, Argentina, Sachsenring, and Sepang. The new tire was the rear used at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. That is relatively unsurprising, given that the place everyone compared Buriram to the first time they saw it was Austria. The different compounds in the Austria rear were better placed to withstand the stresses of Buriram, especially along the three successive straights in the tropical heat.

Back to top

2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Saturday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the second day of the Buriram test:


Marquez and Pedrosa top the standings on day 2 in Buriram

Marc Marquez, who turns 25 years old today, was the fastest man during the second day of the Thai test in Buriram, and the the only rider to drop into the 1’29” bracket, with a time of 1’29.969” on lap 91 of 97.

Back to top

2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Saturday Times: Marquez Cracks 1'29

Marc Marquez has cracked the 1'29 barrier on second day of the Buriram test in Thailand, posting a fast lap late in the afternoon to take top spot on his birthday. Dani Pedrosa made it a Repsol Honda one-two, taking second spot after leading the timesheets for a large part of the day. Both Pedrosa and Marquez tested new aerodynamics, a revised version of the package first spotted at Sepang. 

Back to top

2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Friday Round Up: A Pleasant Surprise, A Close Field, And Yamaha's Electronics Challenges

The MotoGP riders have had their first laps of the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, and the reviews are in. Simple to learn, but more fun than it looks on paper, is the short version. "The layout, I remembered it was more similar to Austria, so I was very worried," Valentino Rossi said, summing up the general feeling. "But when you ride maybe it is more similar to Argentina. It's good to ride, you have a good feeling, you enjoy. The track is not very difficult but anyway it's fun."

It was a change from what he had said at Sepang, when the Italian dismissed the Buriram circuit as "boring". "I rode the track in 2015 with a Yamaha 300 together with [Jorge] Lorenzo and [Pol] Espargaro," Rossi explained. "I remember that the track was similar to Austria. But in reality it's better, have good corners. Technically it's quite easy, but it's not boring."

On a side note, Rossi ended the day in eighth, less than four tenths behind the fastest man Cal Crutchlow. He finished three place and a tenth of a second ahead of his young teammate Maverick Viñales, the rider who was prematurely anointed world champion after preseason testing in 2017. Friday was Rossi's thirty-ninth birthday, and the start of his twenty-third season in Grand Prix racing, and nineteenth season in the premier class.

To still be racing at his age and after so many years is a remarkable enough achievement. To start the season as a legitimate championship contender – or perhaps, to still have the desire, the discipline, the ambition to do what it takes to start the season as a legitimate championship contender – is truly the mark of his greatness. When Valentino Rossi retires (not yet, he looks certain to sign on for two more years) he will be remembered for his titles. But to my mind, what marks him out above all other riders is the fact he is still competitive even now, when so many others have (understandably) given up on the hard physical and mental slog that racing at the very highest level demands.

Back to top

2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Friday Press Releases

Press releases from the MotoGP teams after the first day of the Buriram test:


LEARNING FAST ON OPENING DAY AT CHANG INTERNATIONAL

Team Suzuki Press Office - February 16th.
Alex Rins: 2nd - 1:30.809 (+ 0.012)
Andrea Iannone: 9th - 1:31.235 (+0.438)

• Alex Rins sets 2nd fastest time as he quickly gets to grips with new circuit.

• Andrea Iannone with a strong pace and large number of laps.

Back to top

2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Friday Times: Crutchlow Edges Rins To Lead First Day

Cal Crutchlow had finished the first day of the MotoGP test at Buriram on top of the timesheets, the LCR Honda rider making a charge in the afternoon to set a quickest time of 1'30.797. Suzuki's Alex Rins got close to Crutchlow's time, but fell just a hundredth or so shy of the Englishman to take second. But he did get ahead of Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez, who had been fastest for most of the day.

Andrea Dovizioso ended up in fourth, the factory Ducati rider also not improving the time he set in the morning, finishing just ahead of the second Repsol Honda rider, Dani Pedrosa. The Pramac Ducati squad took sixth and seventh, Danilo Petrucci on the GP18 finishing just ahead of Jack Miller on the GP17. Valentino Rossi was the first of the Yamahas in eighth, four tenths behind Crutchlow and just ahead of Andrea Iannone on the second Suzuki. Jorge Lorenzo rounded out the top ten on the second factory Ducati, though he too was just 0.449 slower than fastest man Crutchlow.

Back to top

2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Friday 2:30pm Times: Marquez Leads Dovizioso As Syahrin Debuts

Marc Marquez leads the way after the first five hours of testing at Buriram, the Repsol Honda rider just a fraction faster than his rival from last year, Andrea Dovizoso. Given the comments last night that the track was a lot like Austria, then to see Marquez and Dovizioso with a clear advantage should hardly surprise.

Tech 3 Yamaha's Johann Zarco is currently third quickest, nearly four tenths behind Marquez, and a fraction ahead of Movistar Yamaha man (and 39th birthday boy) Valentino Rossi. Danilo Petrucci is fifth fastest on the Pramac Ducati, while Andrea Iannone has the ECSTAR Suzuki in sixth at the moment.

Back to top

2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Thursday Notes: Argentina Or Austria, Ducati Or Yamaha, And Preparing For The Heat

Now that the riders have seen the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, (though so far, only on foot, bicycle, or scooter) they can at last express an opinion on it. The consensus so far is entirely unsurprising. "It's quite similar to Austria, the layout, but it's very flat," Danilo Petrucci summed up the feeling of most. Petrucci did not mourn the lack of elevation, however. "I don't know if this is maybe a good point for me, because in Austria I always struggle a bit, even though I have a Ducati."

Johann Zarco agreed with Petrucci. "I was watching many videos of the World Superbikes, and the first feeling is that it looks like the Austrian Grand Prix at Spielberg, but flat." But the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha rider was broadly positive. "Finally I did many laps with the scooter, and I also ran on the track. I like it. I think it's going to be easy to learn, but easy to learn means that all riders will be so close, and the gap between maybe the first ten or fifteen positions will be very small. So that can make the game complicated."

When a track has fewer secrets to unlock, Zarco explained, it meant that everyone got the knack of the track quickly, leaving little to differentiate between them. No Casey Stoner at Phillip Island, no Marc Márquez at Austin. "I think it's easy to learn, you quickly know which line to use. I think Texas is more complicated to learn, with 20 corners. But easy means that many riders are able to be fast, but there is only one winner. That's the difficult point," Zarco said, before pausing and joking, "Well, in Superbike they have two winners, but in MotoGP, we have one!"

Back to top

2018 Buriram MotoGP Test Preview: Burning Rubber For Bibendum

The Sepang MotoGP test proved to be most instructive, both for the fans, who got a first taste of what the 2018 season could look like, and for the factories, who put the first imaginings of this year's bikes – and especially engines – through their paces. We learned that Ducati have taken another step forward, that Honda is improved, that Yamaha have solved one problem but possibly created another, that Suzuki are showing promise, that Aprilia are still waiting on a new engine to match their new chassis, and that KTM are starting to realize that closing in on the top ten was much easier than getting into the top five will be.

From Sepang, MotoGP moves to Thailand, some 1300km almost due north. The Chang International Circuit – mostly referred to as Buriram among the MotoGP faithful, as the circuit is owned by (and named after) the main Thai rival to Official MotoGP Beer Supplier Singha – may prove a good deal less instructive than Sepang, for a couple of reasons. First of all, it offers more of the same, especially from a climate point of view. And secondly, it offers less, in terms of variety of corners and bike maneuverability.

The layout of the Buriram circuit is relatively simple. There are no real elevation changes, though the track has one or two crests and dips. The track consists of three straights strung together with tight corners, and then an ornery section of tightish corners taking the riders back to the final first-gear corner, and back onto the relatively short start and finish straight. It is, unsurprisingly, a Hermann Tilke track, and exactly what you would expect as a result.

Back to top

Pol Espargaro To Miss Buriram Test Due To Injury Sustained In Sepang Crash

Red Bull KTM MotoGP rider Pol Espargaro is to miss the upcoming MotoGP test at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, KTM have announced. The 26-year-old Spaniard is suffering with a hernia in his L4 vertebra, for which he underwent surgery on Monday night in Barcelona.

Back to top

Pages

Subscribe to Chang, Thailand