Buriram MotoGP: Marquez beats Dovizioso in spectacular late battle

Marc Marquez took victory in MotoGP's inaugural Thailand Grand Prix, passing chief rival Andrea Dovizioso on the final lap to take a step closer to the 2018 championship crown

Buriram MotoGP: Marquez beats Dovizioso in spectacular late battle

In a reversal of their memorable Austrian GP duel from last year, Dovizioso attempted to pass Marquez at the final corner on the last lap after the Honda rider had muscled his way by on Turn 5 at Buriram.

But Ducati could not get the traction on the final corner's exit, with Marquez cutting back to the inside to reach the chequered flag 0.115 seconds clear of Dovizioso and register his seventh win of the 2018 campaign.

It gives him a championship lead of 77 points with only 100 left to play for in the final four rounds.

Marquez led the opening four laps of the 26-lap contest from pole, but Yamaha's Valentino Rossi tracked him and managed to slipstream his way past the defending champion on the long run down to the Turn 3 hairpin on lap five.

Rossi seemed comfortable enough in the lead, with the top riders all moderating their pace in the opening half of the race in the blisteringly hot conditions, but got a poor drive out of the first corner on lap 11 and dropped to third.

Dovizioso hung on to the lead from there as he and Marquez began to up the pace, although it wasn't until the last five laps that the champion really started to go on to the attack.

On lap 23, Marquez tried to pass Dovizioso at Turn 3, only to run wide, and the following lap the duo swapped places twice, allowing the Yamahas of Maverick Vinales and Rossi, who had dropped behind his team-mate on lap 20, to close in.

It was the same story at the hairpin on the penultimate lap, with Dovizioso retaining the advantage heading into the decisive final tour.

But after repelling Marquez at Turn 3 with a defensive line, he left an opening heading into the Turn 5 right-hander, and his last-corner attempt at seizing back the advantage failed to pay off.

Vinales was not close enough to capitalise on the two leaders running wide, but still secured his first podium finish since July's German GP in third, ahead of Rossi, who picked up his best result since the Czech race in August.

Johann Zarco underlined Yamaha's improved form with a strong run to fifth on the satellite Tech3 machine, passing the Suzuki of Alex Rins and the fading LCR Honda of Cal Crutchlow to take the place.

Zarco was also helped by Dani Pedrosa crashing out of fifth at the Turn 5 right-hander with seven laps to go.

Completing the top 10 were a trio of satellite Ducati riders, with Nieto's Alvaro Bautista leading Pramac pair Danilo Petrucci and Jack Miller.

Hafizh Syahrin (Tech3) was the top rookie in 12th, a place behind the second Suzuki of Andrea Iannone, while the remaining points went to Aleix Espargaro, Franco Morbidelli and Bradley Smith.

The only crasher besides Pedrosa was the second LCR rider Takaaki Nakagami, who remounted to finish two laps down in 22nd.

Race result

Pos Rider Team Bike Laps Gap
1 Marc Marquez Honda Honda 26 39m55.722s
2 Andrea Dovizioso Ducati Ducati 26 0.115s
3 Maverick Vinales Yamaha Yamaha 26 0.270s
4 Valentino Rossi Yamaha Yamaha 26 1.564s
5 Johann Zarco Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 26 2.747s
6 Alex Rins Suzuki Suzuki 26 3.023s
7 Cal Crutchlow LCR Honda Honda 26 6.520s
8 Alvaro Bautista Aspar Ducati Ducati 26 6.691s
9 Danilo Petrucci Pramac Ducati Ducati 26 9.944s
10 Jack Miller Pramac Ducati Ducati 26 11.077s
11 Andrea Iannone Suzuki Suzuki 26 15.488s
12 Hafizh Syahrin Tech3 Yamaha Yamaha 26 17.691s
13 Aleix Espargaro Aprilia Aprilia 26 21.413s
14 Franco Morbidelli MVDS Honda Honda 26 22.802s
15 Bradley Smith KTM KTM 26 23.628s
16 Scott Redding Aprilia Aprilia 26 23.804s
17 Karel Abraham Aspar Ducati Ducati 26 32.507s
18 Xavier Simeon Avintia Ducati Ducati 26 37.216s
19 Jordi Torres Avintia Ducati Ducati 26 39.204s
20 Thomas Luthi MVDS Honda Honda 26 39.421s
21 Pol Espargaro KTM KTM 26 53.388s
22 Takaaki Nakagami LCR Honda Honda 24 2 Laps
- Dani Pedrosa Honda Honda 18 Retirement
- Jorge Lorenzo Ducati Ducati 0 Withdrawn

Riders' standings

Pos Rider Points
1 Marc Marquez 271
2 Andrea Dovizioso 194
3 Valentino Rossi 172
4 Maverick Vinales 146
5 Jorge Lorenzo 130
6 Cal Crutchlow 128
7 Danilo Petrucci 126
8 Johann Zarco 123
9 Andrea Iannone 113
10 Alex Rins 102
11 Dani Pedrosa 87
12 Jack Miller 74
13 Alvaro Bautista 72
14 Tito Rabat 35
15 Franco Morbidelli 33
16 Aleix Espargaro 32
17 Pol Espargaro 32
18 Hafizh Syahrin 28
19 Bradley Smith 19
20 Takaaki Nakagami 18
21 Scott Redding 12
22 Mika Kallio 6
23 Karel Abraham 5
24 Michele Pirro 1
25 Thomas Luthi 0
26 Stefan Bradl 0
27 Xavier Simeon 0
28 Jordi Torres 0
29 Sylvain Guintoli 0
30 Christophe Ponsson 0


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Series MotoGP
Drivers Andrea Dovizioso , Alex Marquez , Marc Marquez
Teams AB Motoracing
Author Jamie Klein
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