Yesterday’s (Oct 4) press conference signalled the start of the first MotoGP event in Thailand at Chang International Circuit which is the 15th of 19 races of the season.
Racers at the function were runaway championship leader Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda), Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha), Andrea Iannone (Suzuki Ecstar), Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar) and Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini).
During the press conference, they held a sign in support of the earthquake and tsunami victims in Indonesia.
According to the riders, they will face a weekend that will be very different to the test they had at the circuit in February.
Aragon winner Marquez is chasing his fifth MotoGP championship title and enjoys a 72-point lead over Dovizioso.
After taking a tuk-tuk tour of Bangkok on Wednesday (Oct 3), the Spaniard turned his attention to his RC213V and the new circuit that awaits him.
The four-time MotoGP world champion was third quickest in the test in February, but he said yesterday that this weekend could look a whole lot different as every team will have a “different” bike at their disposal.
“We did a test in the winter but I think now all the manufacturers arrive with a different balance, different bikes and it will be interesting to understand the level of each one,” said the 25-year-old.
Dovizioso said the first half of the Buriram circuit is Ducati’s territory with two slow corners immediately followed by long straights similar to the Red Bull Ring.
However, the second half of the lap is where the Italian thinks the Bologna factory could struggle.
“The first half of the track yeah, the second half is a bit slow, second gear and we struggled during the test,” the Italian said.
Dovizioso was adamant this weekend will be completely different to the February test, with tyres and speed of the riders a factor.
“But we only did the test and we haven’t raced here, and the tyres are completely different to the test. The situation with the speed of the riders is different to February so anything can happen. For sure we’ll start with good speed but we’ll see how the tyres are,” he said.
“In the test we tried something but the grip was very low. The heat is high, maybe even more than Malaysia and it’s very hard for everyone. The bike is very hot. It will affect the race and the tyres. It’s impossible to know much now.”
Rossi concurred with compatriot Dovizioso’s views, admitting that the Thailand test didn’t go too well for the Movistar Yamaha team as they arrive back in Buriram at a difficult moment.
“On paper, it will be hard because the track isn’t fantastic for us but we’ll try. Like Andrea said, the weather is difficult because it’s very very hot, and it can rain every day. So first we hope for a dry race!”
Meanwhile, Jorge Lorenzo was declared fit to race in Buriram after suffering a foot injury. The Ducati driver is still feeling the after effects of the crash in Aragon last month.
Although he was still using crutches yesterday to keep the pressure off his damaged foot, the three-time world champion said he was fit for the weekend's racing.
“I am positive. Hopefully I will jump in to ride tomorrow (Oct 5) and I will have enough power,” said the 31-year-old Spaniard, who will retire at the end of the season.
Lorenzo is fourth in the championship standings behind third-placed Rossi.
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