The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team has travelled to the Chang International Circuit in Thailand for the first 2019 MotoGP Asian stop. Last year‘s visit to the Buriram track was a big hit amongst the MotoGP paddock and the fans, so Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi are looking forward to another spectacular GP this weekend.
Viñales came tantalisingly close to a top 3 result in Aragon almost a fortnight ago but ultimately finished in fourth place. Though he noticed great improvement in the first part of the race, the experience of missing out on the podium celebrations increased his motivation to stand on the Buriram rostrum again, like he did twelve months ago.
Last year the Spaniard found the Chang International Circuit to be a great fit to his riding style, which he underlined by taking third in the inaugural Thai GP. This year, he will be pushing 100 per cent again as he also has his eyes on third place in the 2019 championship standings. The number-12 rider currently holds fifth and has to bridge a 9-point gap to defend his third place in the 2018 overall classifications.
Rossi is also keen to head back to the Buriram track, which is a circuit he really likes. He has fond memories of last year‘s racing activities. He not only felt competitive the entire weekend, but he was also inspired by the passion of the local motorsports fans.
The Italian is looking forward to putting on a great show again this year and is keen to step onto the podium this time round, having taken fourth place in the previous Thai GP. The Doctor is currently sixth in the overall MotoGP rider rankings and, like his team-mate, will spare no effort to decrease the 19-point margin to challenge for third place in the standings.
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 in 2018 MotoGP made its debut there. The circuit is located about 410km northeast from the country‘s capital of Bangkok, close to the town of Buriram. Buriram translates to “City of Happiness”, and it delivered. The Thai GP became a big hit with the teams and riders. Many were excited by the Chang track‘s 4.554km layout, including a 1km longest straight, and five left and seven right turns, as well as its great facilities and the capacity to let 100,000 passionate fans enjoy the spectacle from the grandstands.
For those who want to get to know the Chang International Circuit better, check out Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP eSport Rider Lorenzo Daretti‘s eLap.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“In Aragon we found the way to be strong in the first laps of the race and that was an important point for me. From lap 1 to lap 15 is where I struggled a lot earlier on this season, so we need to bring this improvement with us to Buriram. We arrive in a really good shape and we‘re feeling positive because last year I did a good race. The Chang circuit is very demanding because of the high temperatures but I think that it‘s a track that suits us quite well, and also the tyres work very well here. We have a really good atmosphere in the team, and we are doing a great job. I hope to be more competitive in Thailand than I was at the previous round and to be closer to the top riders. As I said many times, our goal right now is to always be the first Yamaha and to try to fight for third position in the general classification.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team
“Now begins a series of races that will take us outside of Europe. The first of these GPs is the round held in Thailand. Last year the Buriram race weekend was really nice because I had the second place in qualifying and I was fast in the race. I fought for the podium until the end. I didn‘t get it and finished fourth, but I was fast. So, this year the goal is to be fast again and try to do even better than last year.”
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Director
“We now start the Asian and Oceanian leg, which is always a crucial and very demanding part of the season for both the team and the riders. We have four races in five weeks, all in different time zones and the climates in these countries can also be quite different from each other. We will start with what we expect to be a very hot and humid race weekend at the Chang International Circuit. The team are very much looking forward to getting to work, especially because we really enjoyed last year‘s race weekend in Thailand. The Buriram track has great facilities, the track seems to suit our bike, and the fans are fantastic here as well. It was at this track where we started to see improvements last year, so we are very keen to compare our current shape and measure the progress we‘ve made since then.”