29 Oct, 2023
The Thailand Grand Prix delivered one of the closest fought MotoGP races of the season. Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli started from P10 and P18 respectively and squeezed every ounce of performance out of their Yamaha YZR-M1s to secure P6 and P11 at the chequered flag. However, Quartararo ranked fifth in the Race classifications as Aleix Espargaró was handed a 3s post-session penalty.
Buriram (Thailand), 29th October 2023 The Thailand Grand Prix was a nailbiter. With dark clouds looming above the Chang International Circuit at the start of the Race, tyre degradation and fuel preservation being a concern, and the whole rider field bunched up in the first quarter of the Race, the 26-lap contest was anybody’s game. Fabio Quartararo and Franco Morbidelli joined in on the overtaking action. They completed the Race in P6* and P11 respectively.
Quartararo ranked fifth in the Race classifications though, as Aleix Espargaró was handed a 3s post-session penalty running tyre pressure lower than the parameters advised by the Official Supplier for a second time this season.
Quartararo started from P10, held the position in the opening corners and had muscled his way into eighth by the second lap, keen to stay with the top-7 riders. He was riding directly behind the duelling pair of Marc Marquez and Francesco Bagnaia but had to pay attention to many other riders at the same time. The Frenchman battled with Raul Fernandez, Maverick Viñales, and Marco Bezzecchi, and found himself in ninth place with 18 laps to go. Four laps later, Alex Marquez crashed out, and as Quartararo passed Marc Marquez with nine laps to go, the Yamaha man ranked seventh. He had an over 1s gap to the riders ahead of him and set a red sector to catch up quickly. Picking off Luca Marini saw him move up to sixth. He put in a brave attempt to also reel in Aleix Espargaró for fifth but came just short. El Diablo finished the Race in sixth place, 4.550s from first. However, Aleix Espargaró's penalty had Quartararo ranking in fifth place.
Morbidelli started from P18 on the grid, and after the busy opening laps he settled into 17th position. He overtook Takaaki Nakagami and Jack Miller to find himself inside the top-15 point-scoring positions. With the whole rider field bunching up, he still had everything to play for. When Johann Zarco ran wide, the Italian profited. Though he later had to return the position to the Frenchman, Alex Marquez’ crash kept him in 14th place. A last six-lap charge by Morbido saw him pass Enea Bastianini and Raul Fernandez. He then lined up Joan Mir on the final lap, to finish the Thai GP on a high. He made it stick and took the chequered flag in 11th place, 11.168s from the race leader.
Today’s results see Quartararo move up to 9th place in the overall standings with 145 points. Morbidelli stays in 13th with now 84 points. The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team hold on to 6th in the team championship with 229 points, and Yamaha stays in 5th position in the constructor’s championship with 165 points.
Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP will be back in action for the next triple-header, the final three GPs of the 2023 MotoGP season. In two weeks’ time the Grand Prix of Malaysia will be held at the Sepang International Circuit from 10th - 12th November.