Miguel Oliveira went from 11th on the grid to win the delayed wet Thai Grand Prix at Buriram, as Fabio Quartararo’s MotoGP lead was slashed to two points.
It marked Oliveira’s fifth MotoGP win, and his and employer KTM’s second of the season – Oliveira having also won the only other wet race this season, at Indonesia’s Mandalika venue.
Quartararo had a miserable day on the wet Buriram track, while main rival Francesco Bagnaia kept his cool to finish third – a marked departure from his desperately poor form in the wet in the previous round at Motegi.
Due to heavy rain the race start was delayed by nearly an hour, with another minor delay then happening on the grid due to a medical emergency involving one of the guests of the paddock.
Rookie poleman Marco Bezzecchi was sent off-track by a Jorge Martin lunge at Turn 1, but kept the throttle pinned in the run-off and retained the lead – albeit then ordered to yield a position.
Martin’s lunge allowed Bagnaia to move up to second right away, but by the time Bezzecchi was giving up the lead on lap four it was Jack Miller who was the benefactor – having worked his way up the field on lap one and passed works Ducati team-mate Bagnaia at Turn 3 on the third tour.
Miller soon began to break away from his fellow Ducatis, but it wouldn’t stay so simple for long, with Oliveira picking his way through both Bagnaia and Bezzecchi on the sixth lap and then swiftly catching up to the leader.
Once he did, the gap between the pair would oscillate for the next few laps, Oliveira never looking too close to pouncing – but as lap 14 of 25 rolled around he suddenly closed in and got a move done in the final corner, before fighting off a Miller counter-attack on the next lap.
Miller kept Oliveira within reach for the remainder of the race, but never again got close enough to have a go for the lead, finishing seven tenths of a second behind.
Not that far behind them, Bagnaia spent the rest of the race in third after taking advantage of the Oliveira move to also pass Bezzecchi.
The title hopeful soaked up massive pressure from Marc Marquez and then a potentially-reluctant Pramac Ducati of Johann Zarco late on.
Behind Marquez in fifth, Gresini Ducati rider Enea Bastianini picked up sixth place, and Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales passed Alex Marquez – who started 20th but brought his LCR Honda into the top five early on before fading – on the last lap for seventh.
Martin and Oliveira’s KTM team-mate Brad Binder completed the top 10, Binder’s race compromised early on by being barged out of the way by Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.
Espargaro served a long-lap penalty for that move and ended up 11th, followed by Suzuki’s Alex Rins and the top Yamaha of Franco Morbidelli, who dropped out of the top 10 in the dying moments.
Bezzecchi’s race unravelled swiftly after an aggressive pass from the elder Marquez at Turn 12, and he wound up out of the points – but still six tenths ahead of 17th-placed Quartararo.
The championship leader was sent wide at Turn 1 by a Miller lunge and his race completely fell apart from there, Quartararo sinking like a stone over the opening lap and never really recovering form.
Suzuki stand-in Danilo Petrucci didn’t get to flash his famous wet-weather mastery, finishing only 20th, while LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagami replacement Tetsuta Nagashima was 22nd.
VR46 rider Luca Marini fell out of fifth place on the fourth lap, yet maintained his streak of never retiring from a MotoGP race, remounting to eventually finish two laps down.
The only retirement, therefore, was Tech3 KTM’s Remy Gardner, who crashed out of 17th.
With Quartararo and Bagnaia are now two points apart, Espargaro remains in the hunt despite his compromised race, 20 points off the lead with three races to go.
Bastianini and Miller are 39 and 40 points off respectively, while Binder and Zarco retain the faintest of mathematical chances at the crown.
|Pos||Name||Team||Bike||Laps||Laps Led||Total Time||Fastest Lap||Pitstops||Pts|
|1||Miguel Oliveira||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||25||12||41m44.503s||1m39.537s||0||25|
|2||Jack Miller||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||25||10||+0.73s||1m39.732s||0||20|
|3||Francesco Bagnaia||Ducati Lenovo Team||Ducati||25||0||+1.968s||1m39.566s||0||16|
|4||Johann Zarco||Pramac Racing||Ducati||25||0||+2.49s||1m38.941s||0||13|
|5||Marc Marquez||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||25||0||+2.958s||1m39.448s||0||11|
|6||Enea Bastianini||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||25||0||+13.257s||1m39.899s||0||10|
|7||Maverick Viñales||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||25||0||+14.566s||1m39.77s||0||9|
|8||Alex Marquez||LCR Honda Castrol||Honda||25||0||+14.861s||1m39.991s||0||8|
|9||Jorge Martin||Pramac Racing||Ducati||25||0||+15.365s||1m40.159s||0||7|
|10||Brad Binder||Red Bull KTM Factory Racing||KTM||25||0||+18.097s||1m39.884s||0||6|
|11||Aleix Espargaró||Aprilia Racing||Aprilia||25||0||+19.041s||1m39.821s||0||5|
|12||Alex Rins||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||25||0||+19.659s||1m40.069s||0||4|
|13||Franco Morbidelli||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||25||0||+22.439s||1m39.963s||0||3|
|14||Pol Espargaró||Repsol Honda Team||Honda||25||0||+23.646s||1m40.054s||0||2|
|15||Raul Fernandez||Tech3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||25||0||+30.483s||1m40.317s||0||1|
|16||Marco Bezzecchi||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||25||3||+33.466s||1m40.478s||0||0|
|17||Fabio Quartararo||Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP||Yamaha||25||0||+34.072s||1m40.637s||0||0|
|18||Fabio Di Giannantonio||Gresini Racing MotoGP||Ducati||25||0||+36.203s||1m40.795s||0||0|
|19||Cal Crutchlow||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||25||0||+36.532s||1m40.585s||0||0|
|20||Danilo Petrucci||Team SUZUKI ECSTAR||Suzuki||25||0||+42.508s||1m40.721s||0||0|
|21||Darryn Binder||WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team||Yamaha||25||0||+49.992s||1m41.236s||0||0|
|22||Tetsuta Nagashima||LCR Honda IDEMITSU||Honda||25||0||+51.346s||1m41.185s||0||0|
|23||Luca Marini||Mooney VR46 Racing Team||Ducati||23||0||+2 laps||1m39.475s||0||0|
|Remy Gardner||Tech3 KTM Factory Racing||KTM||11||0||DNF||1m40.654s||0||0|