Tricky Thai Grand Prix for Championship Leader Quartararo
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP’s Fabio Quartararo endured a challenging Thai Grand Prix this weekend, crossing the line to finish 17th at the Chang International Circuit.
The Thai Grand Prix proved to be a difficult challenge for the Yamaha MotoGP teams, with Fabio Quartararo suffering a blow to his championship defence, crossing the line in 17th place. Team-mate Franco Morbidelli secured points in 13th while Cal Crutchlow and Darryn Binder finished in 19th and 21st places respectively.
After sessions throughout the weekend taking place in dry conditions, heavy rain hit the Chang International Circuit on Sunday afternoon, forcing severe delays to the 25-lap Grand Prix.
Launching from the second row on the grid after powering to fourth in Saturday’s qualifying session, Fabio Quartararo had a challenging start, being beaten up on the opening lap as he braved the challenging conditions. Sat up onto the wet kerbs at turn four, the Frenchman lost drive, dropping him to 17th by the end of the opening lap.
Keeping a calm head, the 23-year-old pushed on, aiming to take points and limit the damage done to his championship lead. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the series leader, he was unable to make headway and crossed the line in 17th place. The Frenchman maintains the lead of the standings by two points ahead of the final three rounds.
Team-mate Franco Morbidelli made a strong start from 14th on the grid, fighting his way to 12th at the end of the opening lap. As the race developed, and the track began to dry out, Morbidelli worked his way through to 11th before breaking inside the top ten by picking off Raul Fernandez on lap ten. As conditions dried, the Italian began to gradually slip back, ultimately holding on to 13th to secure three World Championship points.
Cal Crutchlow and Darryn Binder both encountered a difficult race. The WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team duo fought valiantly but sadly missed out on a points finish with the pair crossing the line in 19th and 21st places respectively.
Fabio Quartararo remains atop of the MotoGP World Championship standings but sees his lead cut to two points. Yamaha is third in the constructors’ championship while Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP sit fifth in the teams’ standings.
The MotoGP paddock will now take a short break before returning to action in Phillip Island for round 18 of the season.
Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 13th
“The first ten laps of the race were probably the scariest experience of my life. The visibility was none. But thankfully everybody was wise enough to not do any crazy moves or try crazy stuff in the areas where visibility was zero. The first ten laps went through with nothing much going on. That was really surprising, but also a relief. After that, the real race started. I could extract some pace from my package, and I was quite fast actually. But when I reached other bikes, I couldn’t overtake or do much more, so I needed to step back and bring the bike home.”
Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, 17th
“Rain fell at the worst possible time for us. We had not much wet track time before the race started – just a few minutes. The first laps of the race were really tricky. I was pushed wide by Jack in Turn 1 and it only got worse from there. I was trying to find a good feeling, but in Turn 4 I had a moment, and the visibility was really bad. I’m sorry for the Thai fans. I had hoped to do a better race in front of them. We have an idea why we struggled that much, but we will investigate more to improve for the future. We’ll try to come back stronger in Australia.”
Cal Crutchlow – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team, 19th
“I struggled today, first of all I think it was very dangerous on the first lap, you can’t see anything from the back. The other riders were closing throttle in fifth gear and to me it’s strange when you still have the straight left. Anyway, it was a difficult race for Yamaha today, it seem that we all have very similar problems with the tyre pressure and the tyre heating. It’s a shame because this weekend in the dry, we had a great pace but our problems were exaggerated in the rain. It was the same problem in the dry but we got away with it in the dry.
“So it was a disappointing day, I think if it was in the dry, we could have had a great race, but honestly speaking the speed of my bike this weekend was not good in the straight compared to Aragon and Motegi where i was the fastest Yamaha, came this weekend it was a surprise to not have a fast bike to be competitive in this rain. This is the situation, we have to now look ahead and go for it in Australia and the last two rounds.”
Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team, 21st
“I’m quite disappointed to be really honest, it’s always difficult to be going straight into the rain race not having some final laps in the wet before. I had a good start, I felt quite good in the first laps but you couldn’t see anything going from turn 1 to 3 then to 4, it was shocking, I think I was riding like fourth gear on the straight in the first four laps cause I couldn’t see where I was going. But anyway, I was making passes, I passed a couple of riders and building my way up, and in lap 4 or 5 I caught up to Fabio (Quartararo) and I was feeling good lining up where I was going to pass him, but the next thing I just started to lock the front everywhere, I don’t know if the front tyre started to heat but then I was just making mistake as I keep locking the front so I ran off a couple of times and got back on. I tried my best to keep the same pace and everyone was just getting faster but I was staying the same so I’m really disappointed. I really thought I was going to get going but it is what it is. So, we try again in Phillip Island and I can’t wait.”
Massimo Meregali – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP, Team Director
“When we arrived here, we expected all sessions to be wet, but unfortunately it started raining at the wrong moment. The race became a complete gamble, because the riders didn‘t have any wet track time beforehand to prepare themselves and their bikes. It ended up badly for us, especially for Fabio. Franco rode a decent race in tricky conditions until the front tyre dropped in the final stages. Having exceeded track limits on five occasions, he also received a three-second penalty that puts him in 13th place. Even the track was against us today. It became dryer lap by lap, making the mixed conditions more difficult for us. We need to understand why in Indonesia we fight for the win in rainy conditions and here it‘s the total opposite. We are leaving Thailand feeling disappointed.”
Razlan Razali – Founder & Team Principal WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team
“Well as forecasted, the Thailand Grand Prix was delayed and raced under difficult tricky conditions which of course affected everybody’s race especially our two riders, Cal and Darryn. While Darryn had a great start in the beginning, he then gradually fell back, but I think it is more towards the conditions that he could not adapt as well as he could.
“Cal as well was steadily progressing but unfortunately it was too far for Cal to get any points. So, we will take a little break before we go back to Phillip Island, Australia where we will again do our best to try and get some valuable points.”
MotoGP Thai Grand Prix Results
1. Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
2. Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team +0.730
3. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team +1.968
4. Johann Zarco – Prima Pramac Racing +2.490
5. Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team +2.958
6. Enea Bastianini – Gresini Racing MotoGP +13.257
7. Maverick Viñales – Aprilia Racing +14.466
8. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL +14.861
9. Jorge Martin – Prima Pramac Racing +15.365
10. Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing +18.097
11. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing +19.041
12. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +19.659
13. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +22.439
14. Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team +23.646
15. Raul Fernandez – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing +30.483
16. Marco Bezzecchi – Mooney VR46 Racing Team +33.466
17. Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP +34.072
18. Fabio Di Giannantonio – Gresini Racing MotoGP +36.203
19. Cal Crutchlow – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team +36.532
20. Danilo Petrucci – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR +42.508
21. Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP +49.992
22. Tetsuta Nagashima – LCR Honda IDEMITSU +51.346
23. Luca Marini – Mooney VR46 Racing Team +2 laps
NC. Remy Gardner – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 14 laps
MotoGP 2022 Championship Standings
1. Fabio Quartararo – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 219 points
2. Francesco Bagnaia – Ducati Lenovo Team 217 points
3. Aleix Espargaro – Aprilia Racing 199 points
4. Enea Bastianini – Gresini Racing 180 points
5. Jack Miller – Ducati Lenovo Team 179 points
6. Brad Binder – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 154 points
7. Johann Zarco – Prima Pramac Racing 151 points
8. Miguel Oliveira – Red Bull KTM Factory Racing 131 points
9. Jorge Martin – Prima Pramac Racing 127 points
10. Maverick Viñales – Aprilia Racing 122 points
11. Alex Rins – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 112 points
12. Luca Marini – Mooney VR46 Racing Team 101 points
13. Marc Marquez – Repsol Honda Team 84 points
14. Marco Bezzecchi – Mooney VR46 Racing Team 80 points
15. Joan Mir – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 77 points
16. Alex Marquez – LCR Honda CASTROL 50 points
17. Pol Espargaro – Repsol Honda Team 49 points
18. Takaaki Nakagami – LCR Honda IDEMITSU 46 points
19. Franco Morbidelli – Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP 31 points
20. Fabio Di Giannantonio – Gresini Racing MotoGP 23 points
21. Andrea Dovizioso – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 15 points
22. Darryn Binder – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 10 points
23. Remy Gardner – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 9 points
24. Raul Fernandez – Tech3 KTM Factory Racing 9 points
25. Cal Crutchlow – WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team 3 points
26. Stefan Bradl – Repsol Honda Team 2 points
27. Michele Pirro – Aruba.it Racing 0 points
28. Lorenzo Savadori – Aprilia Racing 0 points
29. Danilo Petrucci – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 0 points
30. Kazuki Watanabe – Team SUZUKI ECSTAR 0 points
31. Tetsuta Nagashima – Honda HRC 0 points