2019 Buriram MotoGP Race Result: Stalk, Strike, Sip, Repeat

There were many plotlines at play ahead of the premier class race, from the poleman dreaming of a first win, to the reigning world champion aiming to, well, keep it that way and fighting a losing battle with his victory-craving demons all throughout, to the lone chaser trying to slow the tide for another couple of weeks. In the end, it came down to who wanted it most under the meltingly hot sun of Buriram and the answer to that question is, in 93% of cases, Marc Marquez. The Honda golden boy donned the golden helmet as he lifted the biggest shiniest trophy at the end of a tense 26 laps, where he once again broke Fabio Quartararo’s heart. The phenomenal rookie is getting ever closer and took the fight to the final turn of the final lap but there was no stealing Marquez’s thunder and the Frenchman begrudgingly settled for second. Maverick Viñales in third was a distant afterthought with the fire of battle far ahead of him.

In a hint of things to come, the drama started early, with Jack Miller getting wheeled off the grid after stalling before the start – one podium contender already out of the game. No drama just yet for poleman Quartararo, who got the holeshot but Marquez was immediately on his tail, despite some brief protests from Viñales. Marquez was already attacking for the lead in turn one but went well wide and allowed the Frenchman back past. Just behind the front row trio, Andrea Dovizioso gave himself a good chance to achieve his goal of halting Marquez, only half a second behind the leaders by lap three. Despite the early hot pace, Franco Morbidelli, Joan Mir, Valentino Rossi and Alex Rins were still in contention at this point, with Danilo Petrucci another second back.

Similarly to Misano, Marquez was keeping quiet behind his Petronas branded nemesis, with Viñales an ever more distant threat. Dovizioso however, either through extreme tyre management or more likely lack of early pace, was losing ground to over a second by lap five. His case wasn’t helped by Quartararo galloping at the front as if he was missing the cut-off for happy hour and Marquez being roped into following his example. That left Viñales two seconds back by lap eight, Dovizioso another two seconds behind the Spaniard but getting slightly closer – mostly due to the Yamaha struggling rather than the Ducati flying.

There was nothing to separate the lead duo in terms of lap time and Marquez kept at a safe half second distance. Vinales and Dovizioso – although two seconds apart – were still posting red sector times, however, it wasn’t making an impression on the leaders’ gap. The Italian soon had Morbidelli on his tail, with Rins finding some pace mid-race. Another second back, baby-faced Mir was having some fun with grandpa’ Rossi in the battle for seventh.

The pace got even hotter as the race progressed, the two lone cowboys ahead the only ones to dip into the 1:30s by lap 12, with Marquez turning up the heat further and getting glued to his rival’s exhaust pipe for the next few laps. Barring a major mistake, the title already looked secure in Marquez’s pocket, with Dovizioso almost eight seconds behind and with Viñales finding some late speed in between the two title contenders.

But Marquez clearly had his eyes set on victory. Quartararo was under pressure at the front but nothing the Frenchman hadn’t dealt with before and he coped admirably once again to take the fight to the final lap. He also made the same mistake as Misano, allowing Marquez to study and stalk until, with four laps remaining, the Spaniard finally showed his intentions at turn one but could not snatch the inside line so regular scheduling resumed.

Quartararo continued to get glimpses of orange wheel rims but started the final lap in the lead – that didn’t last long, Marquez excruciatingly late on the brakes in turn three to become the prey rather than the hunter. Quartararo rode a strong final half of the lap to give it one final try at the last corner but there was no way to hold back a man determined to take the title with the first place trophy in his hands. Viñales almost went unnoticed when he crossed the finish line one second later to claim the final podium spot. Dovizoso’s late fastest sector times proved pointless in stopping the Marquez monsoon and the Italian settled for fourth. Rins was victorious over Morbidelli, with Mir getting the best of Rossi. Petrucci and Takaaki Nakagami rounded out the top ten.

The championship battle is done and dusted and all of Friday’s literal pains were forgotten as Marquez celebrated his adrenaline-infused eight title and sixth in the premier class. Dovizioso’s second place looks pretty safe but the fight for the last man attending the gala is still quite hot, Rins four points ahead of Viñales, who in turn is one point ahead of Petrucci. Quartararo is set for a poetic changing of the guard, only two points behind Rossi in the fight for sixth.

Results:

Pos. Num. Rider Bike Gap
1 93 Marc MARQUEZ Honda 39'36.223
2 20 Fabio QUARTARARO Yamaha +0.171
3 12 Maverick VIÑALES Yamaha +1.380
4 4 Andrea DOVIZIOSO Ducati +11.218
5 42 Alex RINS Suzuki +11.449
6 21 Franco MORBIDELLI Yamaha +14.466
7 36 Joan MIR Suzuki +18.729
8 46 Valentino ROSSI Yamaha +19.162
9 9 Danilo PETRUCCI Ducati +23.425
10 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI Honda +29.423
11 63 Francesco BAGNAIA Ducati +30.103
12 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW Honda +33.216
13 44 Pol ESPARGARO KTM +35.667
14 43 Jack MILLER Ducati +39.736
15 29 Andrea IANNONE Aprilia +40.038
16 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA KTM +40.136
17 53 Tito RABAT Ducati +44.589
18 99 Jorge LORENZO Honda +54.723
19 17 Karel ABRAHAM Ducati +56.012
20 55 Hafizh SYAHRIN KTM +1'01.431
    Not Classified    
  41 Aleix ESPARGARO Aprilia 9 Laps
  82 Mika KALLIO KTM 23 Laps
Round Number: 
15
2019
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Total votes: 28

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Comments

Pace at front from the lights. Last corner pass, the set up for it to be there was beautiful and LONG coming. We could see it taking shape for most of the race. Marquez may have just needed 2 points, but clearly had a third point to make - "the new kid and Yamaha are NOT going to win on my 8 ball championship day dammit."

What else was French Whizkid Fabio to do last corner? Tough to say. He had to go inside. Hope for a block pass that held Marc off. That braking zone action? Straight up close quarters gun duel. Rears in the air. But stop and go/duck and drive is something Marc has plenty of experience with. That outside rider has the best line unless punted.

Last corner knife fights...when Dovisioso was beating Marquez, he was very smart. Marc dove inside a bit like Quarty just did, but a more aggressive line careening broadside the Red inside leg. AD04 managed to JUST pause without rolling off, allowing Marc's rear wheel to seemingly ghost through his front one (the rider can't see anything below the windscreen, it really feels like that). Then the Ducati motor/electronics/stability drive through to the line. Even HARD fight.

The Honda bronco blasting about in at least 8 directions is an offensive weapon. Marquez skating adaptively and dynamically even more so. He put his bike into lines that were overtly punting Dovi the last couple of years. Now? Marc has a Duc motor. He is closer to the limit under braking than he used to be. Those aren't saves, those are shimmying slides into turn in and the apex. Even the big dive.

Quartararo? He is doing the metronome now. A new rendition of the Lorenzo, hammer and butter. Efficient smooth body movement. Lovely! His last turn pass? That was a Marquez dive line. The Yamaha doesn't do that. Unless, of course, the competitor stays checked off your block all the way to the outside curb, or is on another Yamaha. So tough! What line do you try? There is a bike in the middle of it, and you would sweep into the back of them. Yamaha will need more motor to beat a Marquez if you can't gap him more. Quarty did everything within safe possibility. Less clean was possible, but perhaps not wise yet. Their braking thrust with tails skyward was cutting. The set up to arrive there was surgical. Quartararo was backing it in just a bit. Vinales tends to be looser and move the bike around more doing such work, tires look to suffer as a result. In the future perhaps is will be messier and more aggressive in the final corners? Either Yamaha brings a bit more motor, or Quarty has to bring more contact. Given that we are talking MM93 on the bronco, the first option seems preferable. Do you REALLY want to open that can of worms with Marquez? Are we going to be in for a future showdown of open aggression? If Marquez gives you the option of choosing guns or knives and fists, for sure choose the guns. For now.

Vinales did well. His lap times, pace on opening laps were good. The front two were just on BLISTERING pace. Maverick still had his half distance uptick, and for a while was reeling them back in. (BTW, he does not just have a leg dangle, but a turn in leg kung fu. Notice and enjoy that?). Vinales' bit of yo-yoing relative to the front two could be seen as a testament to the relentless consistency on and over the limit here by them.

Early stages through mid race a lot of battling went on amongst both Suzukis and Vale. Did you see Rossi's argy-bargy-chargy statement passing Mir (and running up at Rins)? Mir responded assertively and duly beat him. We got to witness some Rins-Mir riding style comparison. Rins the tidy classic, Mir looser and more active. Can someone articulate what Rins' moment was that dropped him back? It was missed.

Great starts from the whole front row. Dovisioso stood out as well.

The Malaysian Petronas project, think they are pleased with their season? Did they meet their first year goals? The Yamaha has really turned things around thank heavens. We are talking about Quarty and 500 revs unlocked on his motor. But the ELECTRONICS for the Aqua #20 machine? Spot on. This was the Yamaha on rails that we used to see. No spinning. Good tire at the end. Very curious who's laptop particularly at Yamaha and within the Aqua garage we can appreciate.
;)

Yes, the fat lady warmed up her voice in Spanish during the Qatar test. Yes it was crowned at THAILAND already. But more is going on. So, race for 3rd and top Yamaha...where are we?

3 Alex Rins 167
4 Maverick Viñales 163
5 Danilo Petrucci 162
6 Valentino Rossi 145
7 Fabio Quartararo 143

Rins is not showing up clearly in the crystal ball. The others are. Just like a race, a 3 way battle is in place. Vinales is setting up a pass on the rear of Rins, and Quarty is on pace that could catch them. Interesting.

Again, 2018
Japan - Rins 3, Rossi 4, Zarco 6, Maverick 7, Dovi 18 (handling is king)

Australia - (Rider balls!) Maverick 1, Suzuki/Iannone 2, Dovi 3, Rins 5, Rossi 6 (lots could have their day here)

Malaysia - Rins 2, Zarco 3, Maverick 4, Dovi 6, Rossi 18 (Suzuki/Yamaha advantage again)

Valencia - Dovi 1, Rins 2, Duc/Pirro 4, Zarco 7, Rossi 13, Maverick dnf (Ducati track)

JAPANward

Total votes: 21

Last corner last lap loked like last corner last lap last year. Fabio Q did everything a racer can do to win. Wasn't quite enough to take the victory from Marc Marquez. Fabio lost the drag race to the finish line just as Dovizioso did in 2018.

Again a good race from Buriram. Khob Khun Ka.

Total votes: 6