Press release previews from the MotoGP teams and Michelin ahead of the Thai round of MotoGP at Buriram:
Marquez, Pedrosa look forward to racing at Buriram International Circuit for the first time
In five days the world will know the first ever MotoGP winner of the Grand Prix of Thailand, a country where the World Championship is hugely popular and the race, to be hosted at the Buriram International Circuit, is eagerly awaited.
Looking back at the three-day test hosted last 16-18 February at the 4.6 km Hermann Tilke-designed track, Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez completed totals of 224 and 271 laps, setting the first- and third-fastest times, respectively, in the combined standings (1’29.781” on day 3 for Marquez, 1’29.969” on day 2 for Pedrosa). Faithful to his typical working method, Marc also completed a very impressive race simulation in the afternoon heat of the test’s final day, including a long string of high-1’30” laps.
Although weather and track conditions will have to be addressed all over again via tyre choice and bike setup beginning Friday morning, the Repsol Honda riders will try and put to good use the work completed, in order to be among the first three riders to step onto the Thai MotoGP podium.
“It will be exciting to race in Thailand for the first time; for sure there will be many fans in the grandstands, which is always a nice feeling. We must remain focused and calm though, as it will be important to manage the weekend well, working in the way that we’re used to doing. We had a good test in February but we’ll need to recheck every detail starting on Friday morning. Some parts of the circuit are tricky, but the layout in general is nice. Surely the high humidity and temperature are going to be demanding on the body, but when you get on the bike you just forget those things and simply focus on riding.”
“It will be the first time we race in Buriram, so we don’t know exactly what to expect from the weekend. Of course we have the references from the test we did in February, which went well, so we hope the feeling will be similar. The heat will be high and that will severely put to the test the bike, tyres and ourselves, but it’s something we have dealt with many times already in Malaysia.”
The Ducati Team arrives at the Buriram circuit for the inaugural Grand Prix of Thailand
The Ducati Team has landed in Thailand, where next Sunday will see the fifteenth round of the season, and the first-ever MotoGP race in the history of this country, take place.
Andrea Dovizioso arrives in Thailand second in the Riders’ standings after the second place he scored at Aragón. The Italian is now 72 points behind leader Marquez with five rounds remaining until the end of the season, while Jorge Lorenzo, who crashed out at the first corner in Spain, still lies in fourth with 130 points, equal with Viñales.
In the crash Lorenzo suffered a dislocated big toe and a fracture to the second toe of his right foot and even though a further medical check last Thursday revealed that the foot is still swollen, the Spanish rider has arrived in Buriram as scheduled with the aim of taking part in the Thailand GP.
Buriram will be unchartered territory for all riders, even though three days of testing in mid-February helped the MotoGP protagonists to memorize the layout of the medium-fast track. As always in this part of the world, the weekend will be made even more challenging by the heat, the stuffy atmosphere and the probable rainstorms.
The Buriram weekend programme gets underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 9:55 local time (4:55 CET), while the 26 lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 14:00 (9:00 CET).
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd (174 points)
“The Buriram track is very strange and we have never raced there so it will be a totally new situation for everyone. In the tests in February here in Thailand we didn’t do too badly at all, but now I think that we are much more competitive than what we were at the start of the season. We’ll have to see what the conditions are like because it might be hotter than in Malaysia and this will surely affect the race, but above all it looks like we’re already in the rainy season, so everything can happen.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 4th (130 points)
“The crash at Aragón not only ruined my race, but it could also compromise this weekend’s at Buriram. I’m not yet 100%, my foot is still very swollen and I don’t know how much pain I’ll feel and even if I’ll be able to put my boot on, but I want to try and race here in Thailand.
I’m still disappointed because expectations were high at MotorLand, but now I can’t do anything but try and give my utmost in the five remaining races. We must think positively and even though the pre-championship test here at Buriram didn’t go very well for me, the situation has changed a lot over the season. On Friday morning we’ll get a better idea of my condition and if I’ll be able to ride, even though it’s not going to be easy for me to be competitive in this situation.”
The Buriram circuit
Designed by the German track architect Herman Tilke, the Buriram International Circuit was built in 2014 and this season will host the MotoGP World Championship for the first time. Situated about 400 km north-east of Bangkok, Buriram is the chief town in the province of the same name and is known as the ‘City of Happiness’. The area is characterized by the typical hot sticky climate of South-East Asia. 4.554 km in length and with 12 corners, the track has hosted the Thai Round of the Superbike World Championship since 2015. It has a spectator capacity of 100,000 people and the grandstands offer an excellent view of the entire track.
Movistar Yamaha Travel to Thailand for New Challenge at the Chang Circuit
The Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team venture out to uncharted territory this weekend as they participate in the very first PTT Thailand Grand Prix, held this weekend. Both Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales will ride to the limit to be the first MotoGP rider to plant their flag at the Chang International Circuit.
Rossi is keen to head back to Buriram after the test held there in February. Knowing how passionate the local fans are about motorsports, he wants to put on a great show at the very first MotoGP round held in Thailand.
The Italian is fully aware that the hot and humid conditions at the track will make it hard work, but he will spare no effort to bridge the 15-point gap and reclaim second place in the championship standings.
Viñales is also highly motivated to be back on track and build on the results from the three-day Thai test. Though he initially struggled at this track during the pre-season, he still found the circuit to be a great fit to his riding style and hopes to make it work to his advantage the coming weekend.
The Spaniard is currently tied in fourth place in the championship rankings with Jorge Lorenzo and would like nothing better than to surpass his rival after the Thai round.
Designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, the Chang International Circuit opened in 2014. Only one year later the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship started racing at the venue, and this year the track will also see MotoGP making its debut there. The circuit is located around 410km northeast from the country's capital of Bangkok, close to the town of Buriram. Its 4.554km layout includes a 1km longest straight, and five left and seven right turns. However, it's the typically hot and humid weather that will be the key challenge for the riders, who will give their all to please the up to 100,000 passionate fans in the grandstands.
Championship: 3rd – Points: 159
"After so many European races, it's time to go to Thailand. We did a pre-season test there in February. Buriram is not one of my favourite circuits but it will be another important weekend to improve our bike and a good opportunity to meet the Asian fans, who are very passionate about MotoGP. As always, we will do our best to make it a good race weekend. My goal is to return to the fight for the podium and get some good results overseas."
Championship: 5th – Points: 130
"The Grand Prix of Aragon was sincerely a GP to forget. Now I want to just look forward and be as focused as possible to finish the season in the best possible position. We will start the Asia tour by going to Thailand first. The Chang circuit is very demanding because of the high temperatures. But it makes me very happy to ride there as it will be the first time we get to race in Buriram. We were already there during the pre-season test, but we did not go very fast, because we were still looking for the correct set-up of the bike. Still we'll arrive with great expectations. We want to improve day by day."
Movistar Yamaha MotoGP - Team Director
"It's time to start the final stages of the MotoGP season, beginning with the race in Buriram, the first round of the quadruple overseas leg. During the pre-season test we were very impressed with the track and the facilities of this new circuit on our calendar. Unfortunately, we came a few hours short during the test to fully complete our schedule, so this weekend we have important work to do. We want to find a good basic setting as soon as possible, to make our riders feel comfortable and enable them to fight competitively in front of the Thai crowds who come to support our team."
THAI GP TO KICK OFF THE QUARTET OF FLYAWAY RACES
Team Suzuki Press Office – October 3.
The Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, is the newest facility to host a world-class motorcycling event, and will be the scene of the 15th round of the MotoGP championship. The event’s addition sees the number of races this year rise to 19 compared to the usual 18. The hot and humid weather, similar to that experienced in Malaysia, will make this weekend tough for all the riders.
Team SUZUKI ECSTAR, as well as all other MotoGP teams, had the chance to test here in February, thus allowing the riders Andrea Iannone and Alex Rins to acquaint themselves with the layout. However, weather conditions will be very different compared with 8 months ago, thus requiring the riders to adapt quickly to the new circumstances.
The early stages of the race weekend will see both riders re-familiarise themselves with the layout and the track. Rins and Iannone experienced opposing feelings after the winter test: while the Spaniard liked the track and could make solid improvements quickly, the Italian struggled more when it came to finding a good feeling with the layout, and is now hoping that the improvements and development done with the GSX-RR since February will allow him to find better performance.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager
“We go to a new track for us that has been added to the calendar only this year, so it will be interesting to see how we can adapt to this situation. We tested here in February, like all the other teams, and the outcome was different for the two riders; Alex liked the track, while Andrea was still uncertain about his performance. We arrive in a totally different conditions compared to the ones we had in the winter test, as the bike has improved during the 14 races (and several tests) done so far and also both riders could improve and develop their feeling with the bike. In addition, we arrive here after a solid race in Aragon, where we not only got the podium with Andrea but also Alex did a very competitive race with fourth place. This will be the first of a 4-race mini series outside Europe, with many struggles being so far from home with different climate and also time differences, so it’s important to start on the right foot and be consistent in chasing the top positions in every session and the race.”
“I am curious to see how the improvements we’ve done so far in the machine and in my feeling can help me on this circuit. When we came here in February for the test I didn’t get very positive feelings about the layout, but for sure we are in a very different conditions compared to 8 months ago. A couple of weeks ago in Aragon we scored a positive result with the third place so I hope we can start from there to work consistently this weekend and have a positive beginning to the fly-away races.”
"I had very good feelings at the Buriram circuit in February when we came here for the pre-season tests, so that leaves me confident for a positive weekend in Thailand. In addition, we have grown a lot during the season and we’ve seen that now we can be competitive with consistency, hopefully this will help approaching this new race. The layout is nice for me and our performances are getting better and better as we have been able to demonstrate in the recent races, so we could have all the ingredients for a positive weekend if we will be able to approach step-by-step preparing properly for the race from the first session on Friday onwards.”
Designed by German architect Hermann Tilke, the Buriram International Circuit opened in 2014 and will see MotoGP making its debut this season. Located around 410km northeast from the country’s capital of Bangkok, the town of Buriram in the Buriram province literally translates into “city of happiness”, and its typically hot and humid weather is a key feature of its Southeast Asian location. The 4.554km layout incorporates 12 turns with a 1000 metre long straight.
OFFICIAL DÉBUT FOR THE MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP IN THAILAND
MotoGP is preparing for an important début on the Thai circuit of Buriram which will host a World Championship GP Motorcycle Racing weekend for the first time. Riders and teams have already had the chance to get to know the track during three days of testing at the beginning of the season, coming away with positive impressions of the structure and the layout.
Aleix Espargaró is heading to Buriram on a wave of satisfaction after taking a brilliant sixth place in Aragón, the best result of the season for him and for Aprilia. The Thai circuit, with characteristics different from Motorland di Aragón, proved to be rather complex during the preseason tests, but the situation could change after a long season of tests and upgrades.
The situation is similar for Scott Redding, who had tackled the tests at the season start as a new entry with Aprilia, therefore using the sessions both to increase familiarity with the new bike and to understand the characteristics of an entirely new track.
"The result in Aragón was a fundamental one for us that arrived after months of hard work, during which no one held back. Between tests and training, I have been 100% committed and the guys at Aprilia have continued developing the RS-GP non-stop. We must not fool ourselves. There are still difficulties and the Thai circuit created some puzzlers for us at the beginning of the year, but we will certainly tackle them with renewed motivation."
"During the tests at the beginning of the year, the Buriram circuit had surprised me. It is more technical than it might seem, especially in spots like the second turn, where you brake after a long straight without any braking point of reference. We'll need to focus our work especially on the problems in acceleration that slowed us down in the last race."
NEW HORIZONS FOR THE LCR HONDA CASTROL TEAM IN THAILAND
PRESS RELEASE: 04 October 2018 | Thailand GP Preview
The MotoGP World Championship holds its first ever grand prix in Thailand this weekend, at the Buriram International Circuit in the east of the Asian kingdom. The new event has been hotly anticipated by the fervent local fans, and packed grandstands are expected throughout the whole race weekend.
LCR Honda CASTROL rider Cal Crutchlow will be hoping to capitalise on a positive pre-season test at the new venue back in February, when he was fourth fastest overall, and in doing so make amends for the last race in Aragon. His RC213V will proudly bear the famous Castrol green and red livery this race, in what is an important market for the LCR Honda Team’s Title Sponsor.
Donald Smith (Sponsorship Manager, Castrol Marketing): “Castrol are very pleased to have the opportunity to sport a fully-liveried Castrol Power 1 bike for this weekend’s Thai MotoGP event. Thailand is a strong market for both Castrol and our Castrol Power 1 advanced motorcycle lubricants. MotoGP provides a showcase for our brands and our motorcycle products, and the LCR Honda CASTROL Team with Cal Crutchlow is the ideal platform to deliver this. We wish them every success for this weekend’s race”.
“I think everyone is quite excited about the unknown this weekend. It always seems to bring great racing when there’s a racetrack that nobody really knows. I’m looking forward to riding here, especially in front of the local fans. It was busy even at the test, so I can imagine from Friday it’s going to be mayhem!”
“It was difficult at the test here because we were still testing a few different parts on the bike at the start of the year before the engines were sealed. However, I think our package will be competitive here but I do think it will be difficult to beat the Ducatis with the two long straights. Getting in front of Marc (Marquez) and Dani (Pedrosa) will be tough also, they’re always going to be there, so we’ll be aiming for a top-five finish as usual.”
“Last race was a disappointment, because I felt we had great pace but I didn’t finish the race. Hopefully we can turn it around this weekend. You have to get back up and go again - the ups and downs of racing is why we love this sport so much.”
LCR HONDA IDEMITSU RACER READY FOR NEW THAI CHALLENGE
PRESS RELEASE: 04 October 2018 | Thailand GP Preview
The MotoGP World Championship will hold the first ever Grand Prix of Thailand this weekend, at the Buriram International Circuit in the eastern part of the country. Whilst it is uncharted territory in terms of racing, the MotoGP teams have already tested at the track back in February, and thanks to the huge popularity of the sport in south-east Asia did so in front of packed grandstands. Much the same is expected across all three days of this weekend’s action, with the event a complete sell-out for fans.
It is also a big weekend for Japanese rookie Takaaki Nakagami, with his home race up next on this Asia-Pacific leg of the series. The LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider arrives in the “Land of Smiles” after his best MotoGP result yet, with 12th at the Aragon GP, and will hope to continue that good form as he strives to close the gap in the Rookie of the Year standings.
“It’s great to be in Thailand, even though I know that the temperature is going to be high, and the humidity also makes it difficult for us. It’s completely different weather to what we are used to, but for me it’s an Asian round and that’s good. It helps that I have no jet lag this race! I’m a little concerned about the heat, but we will do what we can and hopefully there will be no rain this weekend.
“The winter test here in Buriram was really good for us, and so session by session here for the race we will try to improve our set-up. I am really looking forward to this weekend as a whole.”
Monster Yamaha Tech3 Pair Eager to Kick Off the Flyaway Journey
This weekend's PTT Thailand Grand Prix initiates a very crucial and demanding part of the 2018 MotoGP World Championship, being a new addition in the calendar, plus the first of four races in Asia and Australia. Following a positive test in February, Monster Yamaha Tech3's Johann Zarco can't wait to be back at the Chang International Circuit, hoping to turn his fortunes around and being able to fight for the glory of the best independent rider.
Nearly eight months ago, Hafizh Syahrin experienced his MotoGP debut at the new venue, where after Monster Yamaha Tech3 with all partners decided to give the Malaysian rider a chance for the full season. The talented rookie didn't disappoint and aims to return to the place close to his home country and impress his fans in claiming back as many points as possible on Franco Morbidelli, who actually leads the Rookie of the Year classification.
Championship: 8th – Points: 112
"The Chang International Circuit is a nice track, which I could see already in February when we had three days of testing there. The last memory from this place is pretty positive, so it can be the time now to come back to a good feeling and a decent position to fight with the fastest guys again. I would love to be competitive on that track. I was feeling good there and also the others didn't have an additional test there, so they maybe have a smaller advantage than during the last races. I'm happy to go there. We start a long trip with almost four races in a row, therefore it will be important to manage my body and my mood well, but I'm sure that these two things are going well. I think the public will be so awesome supporting all the riders. I can't wait to get to Buriram."
Championship: 18th – Points: 24
"I have great memories regarding Thailand, because in the beginning of the year I got to know that I'll be testing a MotoGP bike at the Chang International Circuit, where I finally rode the M1 for the very first time. I had a good test and was just less than two seconds from the top. Now I hope this track can give me an extra boost for this weekend, as I really look forward to arrive in Buriram and also because it's the beginning of the Asian rounds before the season finale in Valencia. The last two, three races I was struggling. We know that we face a tough situation together with Yamaha, so I hope they can fix something to give us the chance to fight for some better results again. I wish I can do well and I try to come back to the points scoring positions. I still believe in myself, the team is working incredibly hard, so we keep on doing this and never give up."
Monster Yamaha Tech3 - Team Manager
"Finally, we are all ready to fly to Buriram for the Thai Grand Prix. It's an event everybody was waiting for. I think the winter test went really, really well. There were a lot of people for a test and I can imagine that the organization expects a record crowd, so everybody is flying there with a very positive frame of mind, because clearly it's going to be an exciting round, but also a bit like unknown territory. For Monster Yamaha Tech3 the test was very positive, Johann was flying there and was the fastest guy when he stopped. Dani Pedrosa passed him for a few thousands when we were already on the road back to Bangkok. The feeling was great, which was unfortunately back in February. Since then a lot of things changed, many bikes improved, so we don't really know what to expect in terms of competitiveness in comparison to our competitors, but clearly the feeling we had there with both, Johann and Hafizh, who was on the MotoGP Yamaha YZR-M1 for the very first time in his life. Clearly, we are excited, happy and we know how important MotoGP is for Thai supporters. They are hot and the atmosphere is going to be something unbelievable. I think we won't forget the very first Thai Grand Prix, which will for sure be something very special. The circuit is ok, some riders think it's a bit boring, but our guys liked it very much. It's safe, the paddock is big enough to receive everybody in a professional way, so we just can't wait to be there and to enjoy with our supporters. Indeed, it is a very strong market for the motorcycle manufacturers, including Yamaha, so we will have a lot of marketing and media operations to do there, but this is fun and exciting to go to a new venue like that where we know there's a lot of expectations, so hopefully Johann and Hafizh will fly the Monster Yamaha Tech3 flag very high and we can have something to celebrate Sunday afternoon."
MOTOGP ARRIVES IN THAILAND FOR THE FIRST TIME
Ángel Nieto Team make first trip to South East Asia with Álvaro Bautista ready for top ten return as Karel Abraham targets repeat of Aragón
The MotoGP World Championship continues to break new boundaries even after seventy years of competition and this weekend will see the series arrive at the Buriram in Thailand for the first time ever for the fifteenth round of the 2018 season. The title chase is almost over with Marc Márquez holding a 72-point lead with just 125 now still available. That gap to Andrea Dovizioso in second place is bigger than the cushion the Italian holds over Andrea Iannone in ninth place. Now the riders face a fresh challenge at a circuit they have never raced at, although they did complete a test here in preseason, when Dani Pedrosa, Johann Zarco and Marc Márquez set the pace and were the only riders to break the 1'30 barrier.
The Ángel Nieto Team travel to Thailand with Álvaro Bautista ready to return to the top ten, where he was bound for until a crash last time out at Aragón, whilst Karel Abraham is keen to pick up with another points-scoring performance. The team was amongst those to test in February in Buriram and is looking forward to the opportunity to measure their progress over the season. Bautista finished that test with the seventeenth fastest time, which is some way off his current performance level, and he is keen to confirm that progress this weekend. His teammate Abraham is one of the few riders to have prior race experience in Thailand, having already competed at Buriram when contesting the World Superbike Championship in 2016, although he doesn't see that this will put him at an advantage over the other riders this weekend.
Álvaro Bautista: “I go to Thailand feeling motivated to start this month of races outside Europe with a strong result. It is a new circuit for everybody although we did test there in February. At that time we weren't in the best form but luckily the situation has changed since then. With the feeling that I have in this second half of the season and the work we have done, I am looking forward to comparing our performance from the start of the season to now. We will head into the weekend with the same working plan as usual, which would have been good enough for a good result at Aragón if not for the crash. Let's see if we can finish the job off this weekend with a good result in the race.”
Karel Abraham: “We scored a point at Aragón and we go to Thailand in good spirits. It will be a difficult race because we will have similar temperatures to the last race but with much higher humidity, and it is also the rainy season. I have been looking forward to the flyaway races because they are some of my favourite circuits. This will be the first race at Buriram for the MotoGP paddock but I did race there in World Superbikes a couple of years ago, although I don't think that will make much difference because we had a preseason test there in February.”
Morbidelli and Lüthi ready to conquer new territory in historic first Thailand MotoGP race
Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS will take part in a historic moment for the MotoGP World Championship this weekend when the premier class of global motorcycle competition competes in Thailand for the first time.
Franco Morbidelli and Tom Lüthi take their quest for MotoGP points to new pastures this weekend when the Buriram track in Thailand hosts round 15 of this year’s MotoGP World Championship.
The 4.5km track located 400km to the northeast of Bangkok opened in 2014 and features a challenging blend of three long straights and 12 technical corners that offer plenty of slipstreaming and overtaking opportunities.
Created by renowned circuit designer Herman Tilke, an imposing feature of the Buriram venue is its 50,000-seater main grandstand, which offers a stunning vantage point of the whole track. A carnival atmosphere is expected to be whipped up this weekend, with interest in MotoGP booming in the South-East Asia region. An astonishing 30,000 fans turned up for the final day of testing in February and a capacity crowd is guaranteed for Sunday’s 26-lap race.
Morbidelli and Lüthi are no strangers to the Buriram track and both got the opportunity to familiarise themselves with the circuit during a three-day pre-season test session back in mid-February.
Franco Morbidelli lapped within 0.2s of the top 10 at the official test session and he outpaced the likes of Jorge Lorenzo, Andrea Iannone and Aleix Espargaro on full factory machinery. The Italian arrives in the Far East brimming with confidence after he battled his way through from 19th on the grid to 11th position last time in MotorLand Aragon to extend his advantage in the race to be crowned Rookie of the Year to seven-points over Hafizh Syahrin.
Tom Lüthi is more determined than ever to register his first points-scoring ride of 2018 in the energy-sapping heat and humidity of Buriram. The Swiss rider finished within three seconds of the top 15 in MotorLand Aragon and he is also keen to gauge how his riding style has evolved since his positive test in Buriram eight months ago.
Morbidelli and Lüthi will be on track for FP1 on Friday morning at 9:55am local time and the race, which kicks off the most intense period of the campaign with four races in five weeks, is scheduled to start at 2pm localon Sunday.
Franco Morbidelli: 16th in the overall standings on 31 points
“I’m looking forward to racing in Thailand"
“I’m looking forward to racing in Thailand, as Buriram is a track where we’ve already had a test on the MotoGP bike and the knowledge for all the riders is the same. My team and I did a great job in the last races in San Marino and Aragon. We got some points there and improved our set-up in very warm conditions, which is like what we are going to find in Thailand. Now the last part of the season starts and we feel confident to make good races at some very challenging tracks.”
Tom Lüthi: 25th in the overall standings
"We go there with some track knowledge and information about the set-up of the bike"
“It is very good that we already tested in Buriram because it means we go there with some track knowledge and information about the set-up of the bike. We need to see what will happen with the weather because in February it was very hot. But it looks now it might be a little more complicated with a high possibility of some rain. It is a very busy period of the season with four overseas races in just five weeks, so I have been enjoying some days of rest at home to be in the best possible shape both physically and mentally for the tough challenge ahead.”
Simeon and Torres ready to discover Thailand
MotoGP GP of Thailand – Chang International Circuit
Reale Avintia Racing rider Tito Raba was released from the Dexeus University Hospital in Barcelona last week and will continue his rehabilitation program at home in Valencia. Rabat, who fractured his femur, tibia and fibula a month ago at the Silverstone circuit, will not travel to Thailand and instead needs a few more weeks of patience before getting back on his Ducati GP17.
His team-mate Xavier Simeon is going to ride Rabat’s bike once again and is determined to make another step at the first ever MotoGP race in Thailand. The Belgian rider arrives at the Chang International Circuit highly motivated, as he knows the track from the winter test and as he has the experience of two races with the GP17 under his belt. He hopes to be able to fight for points this weekend.
Following his promising debut in the premier class at the last race at MotorLand Aragón, Jordi Torres flies to Thailand with confidence. Torres knows the bike, the tyres, the equipment and he also knows the circuit very well, from the races in the World Superbike championship in the last four season. Even though the Ducati Superbike is radically different from the Desmosedici GP16 of Reale Avintia Racing, the experience on this track will certainly help to master the challenges of next weekend.
The weather forecast is good, with sun and high temperatures throughout the weekend. The MotoGP action will start on Friday at 9:55 local time (4:45 Spanish time).
“I am going to Thailand with a lot of confidence, because we tested there in the pre-season and this means that we will start the weekend with some experience. The lack of track experience was the cause of most of our problems this year, because it stopped us from getting on the pace quickly and getting the references with the MotoGP machine. I will ride Tito’s bike again and therefore, I have very high expectations. I hope to score points for the first time this season.”
“After the great experience of Aragon, where I had to absorb a lot of information over the weekend to adapt to my riding style to the MotoGP category, it s fantastic to have another chance and to get back on the bike in Thailand. I know the circuit very well, because we have been racing there in the last four years of the World Superbike championship. It’s a track that I like and I where I had good races. We will have to make the best of FP1 on Friday to catch up with the others and to keep improving. I must get down to the maximum lean angle and learn how to pick up the bike on the corners exits as quickly as possible. There are many things that I figured out in my head and now it’s time to apply this knowledge to the bike. Let’s see if I can ride more smoothly and if I can score a decent result on Sunday”.
MICHELIN HEADS TO PASTURES NEW AS THAILAND WELCOMES MOTOGP™
Michelin and MotoGP™ are embarking on a new chapter in Grand Prix motorcycle racing when the championship makes its first visit to Thailand as the Chang International Circuit prepares to stage the PTT Thailand Grand Prix.
Michelin heads to the 4,554m track with a strong line-up of tyres, which were chosen after a pre-season test at the circuit that is situated in Buriram, in north-eastern Thailand, approx. 400km from the country’s capital Bangkok. The test gave Michelin valuable data about the high severity of the track and from this information a range of MICHELIN Power Slick tyres were selected. With Buriram being a new venue and from the data that was collated at the test, it has led to specific rear tyres being constructed to contend with high temperatures that will be generated. Michelin has brought four options of rear tyre for its first visit to the circuit, aimed at giving all riders and teams the best opportunity to get the optimum performance from their machines. These will be in soft, two mediums versions and hard and they will all be asymmetric, with a harder right-hand shoulder to cope with the circuit’s layout of seven right-turns, against just five on the left. Michelin has chosen three front tyres for the allocation, which will be in soft, medium and hard compounds and will all have a symmetric design
The Chang International Circuit was opened in 2014 and has staged World SBK since 2015, its state-of-the-art facilities include some impressive grandstands around the track that will give good viewing opportunities to the 100,000 plus fans that are expected to pack the location on raceday. The weather in Thailand in October can be very changeable, as it is still officially the monsoon season, so wet weather could play an important part in the proceedings. With this in mind the MICHELIN Power Rain tyres could make a regular appearance. These will be available in a soft and medium front and a medium rear which will all be symmetric, with just the rear soft having an asymmetric finish with the harder right-side like the slicks.
The inaugural Thailand MotoGP weekend kicks-off with two Free Practice sessions on Friday, as the whole paddock will get its first competitive feel of the Buriram circuit. Saturday’s timetable will have two more practice periods, before the qualifying takes place to decide grid positions for the main event. Michelin and the MotoGP field will take to the track on Sunday 7th October, as the newest edition to the motorcycling calendar gets underway at 14.00hrs local time (08.00hrs CEST, 07.00hrs BST, 06.00UTC), when the lights will change to signal the start of the 26-lap race.
Piero Taramasso – Michelin Motorsport Two-Wheel Manager:
“We had the pre-season test at Buriram and got some really valuable information. We have brought specific rears to this race which have been purposely designed for this track – the same as what we do in Austria and Australia, because these are very unusual circuits and require special tyres. These are completely new and were designed after the test, but before we had to give the allocation for the season, so we have two mediums, as this will allow us to decide which is the compound best suited to the track and assist with next year’s allocation. It will also give all the riders the best options to get the most from their respective bikes. All the plans for dry track time could be wasted though, as it is the monsoon season in Thailand and there is a chance of wet weather. We hope this isn’t the case, but if it does we have a range of MICHELIN Power Rain tyres that should be able to cope with whatever nature sends our way. We’re really looking forward to the first visit to Thailand and expect a huge crowd, so we’ll all want to put on a great show for them and Michelin will certainly play a part in that.”
Thailand GP: Statistics
Ducati in Thailand
Lorenzo has had a run of three consecutive poles positions, something he hasn’t done for six years and something that hasn’t happened for Ducati since 2008 with Stoner.
Dovizioso's second place in Aragón was his fourth consecutive podium and his best-ever run of results of his entire sporting career: he has two victories, a second and a third, for a total of 86 points out of a possible 100.
Ducati is familiar with victory at the Chang International Circuit, as they won the second Superbike race this year with Chaz Davies.
Dovizioso’s Ducati reached 334.30 Km/h during the pre-season test, which was the highest speed recorded at the Buriram track.
Thailand is hosting a GP for the first time in history. It is being held at the Chang International Circuit which has the moniker ‘The destination of speed.’ The name of the circuit comes from its main sponsor, Chang Beer.
The layout has a total of 12 corners and 7 braking points, with two very different areas. The first half consists of long straights and ‘stop & go’ style braking, and the second half is a series of connecting corners.
The strongest braking occurs coming into turn 3, which goes from 330 km/h to 75 km/h over a distance of 240 meters in 5.5 seconds.
The straight that leads to turn 3 is 1,000 meters long, making it the 5th longest of the entire calendar, behind COTA, Mugello, Argentina and Montmeló.
The asphalt temperature, which can reach 60ºC, is one of the most worrisome factors, since the tyres can reach over 150ºC which causes them to lose grip, skid, and rise in temperature even more.
1’29.781 is the fastest lap by a MotoGP machine at the Buriram track.
0.948 seconds separated the first and the 16th finisher in the pre-season tests.
The Thai circuit is located in the small town of Buriram, 410 km northeast of Bangkok. The name of the city means "City of Happiness".