Looking ahead to the first MotoGP race in Thailand
With just 5 races to go in the 2018 season, Spaniard Marc Marquez looks firmly in control to capture his 5th World title. He took the chequered flag at the Aragon Grand Prix last week to extend his lead over nearest rival Andrea Dovizioso by 72 points. Marquez has dominated the season so far with 6 victories and 11 podium finishes. If anyone else has a chance to overtake him in the Riders Championship, they surely will have to be aided by luck more than anything else.
The 15th round of the MotoGP 2018 season will be held in Thailand at the Buriram International Circuit also known as Chang International circuit. This is the first time that a MotoGP round is being held in Thailand. Marquez's teammate fellow Spaniard Dani Pedrosa, who is racing in his final MotoGP season, topped the test times done at the circuit in February this year.
The Spaniard, who has stood on the podium on every season since 2002, will want to finish his MotoGP career on a high. Testing times recorded in February may not give a clear indication as to which Team has the edge and boasts the mettle to win in uncharted territory.
With everything to play for those playing catch up to Marquez, the race may spring up a few surprises. Although Marquez cannot mathematically seal the title at Thailand, he can, however, if results go his way create a scenario where he can be crowned Champion at the Japanese Grand Prix, home base of his Team Repsol Honda.
With temperature playing a key role in this race, tyre manufacturers Michelin will bring in a new rear tyre design exclusively to contend with the high track temperatures.
Jorge Lorenzo, who is moving to Team Honda next year, will look to be at his best after a foot injury derailed his chances at Aragon.
Winless Yamaha will look forward to the race hoping for a turnaround in their fortunes and it will be interesting to see how Valentino Rossi responds after reports that he is unhappy with the results of the first test of the Yamaha 2019 engine. 'The Doctor' has over the years produced some memorable victories and the unfamiliar territory of Buriram may well provide him and his Team the perfect tonic going into the final few races of the season. With the season heading to its final stretch, Thailand may prove to be a cracker of a race.