The Ducati Team has landed in Thailand, where next Sunday will see the fifteenth round of the season, and the first-ever MotoGP race in the history of this country, take place.
Andrea Dovizioso arrives in Thailand second in the Riders’ standings after the second place he scored at Aragón. The Italian is now 72 points behind leader Marquez with five rounds remaining until the end of the season, while Jorge Lorenzo, who crashed out at the first corner in Spain, still lies in fourth with 130 points, equal with Viñales.
In the crash Lorenzo suffered a dislocated big toe and a fracture to the second toe of his right foot and even though a further medical check last Thursday revealed that the foot is still swollen, the Spanish rider has arrived in Buriram as scheduled with the aim of taking part in the Thailand GP.
Buriram will be unchartered territory for all riders, even though three days of testing in mid-February helped the MotoGP protagonists to memorize the layout of the medium-fast track. As always in this part of the world, the weekend will be made even more challenging by the heat, the stuffy atmosphere and the probable rainstorms.
The Buriram weekend programme gets underway on Friday morning with the first free practice session at 9:55 local time (4:55 CET), while the 26 lap race is scheduled for Sunday at 14:00 (9:00 CET).
Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team #04) – 2nd (174 points)
“The Buriram track is very strange and we have never raced there so it will be a totally new situation for everyone. In the tests in February here in Thailand we didn’t do too badly at all, but now I think that we are much more competitive than what we were at the start of the season. We’ll have to see what the conditions are like because it might be hotter than in Malaysia and this will surely affect the race, but above all it looks like we’re already in the rainy season, so everything can happen.”
Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team #99) – 4th (130 points)
“The crash at Aragón not only ruined my race, but it could also compromise this weekend’s at Buriram. I’m not yet 100%, my foot is still very swollen and I don’t know how much pain I’ll feel and even if I’ll be able to put my boot on, but I want to try and race here in Thailand.
I’m still disappointed because expectations were high at MotorLand, but now I can’t do anything but try and give my utmost in the five remaining races. We must think positively and even though the pre-championship test here at Buriram didn’t go very well for me, the situation has changed a lot over the season. On Friday morning we’ll get a better idea of my condition and if I’ll be able to ride, even though it’s not going to be easy for me to be competitive in this situation.”
The Buriram circuit
Designed by the German track architect Herman Tilke, the Buriram International Circuit was built in 2014 and this season will host the MotoGP World Championship for the first time. Situated about 400 km north-east of Bangkok, Buriram is the chief town in the province of the same name and is known as the ‘City of Happiness’. The area is characterized by the typical hot sticky climate of South-East Asia. 4.554 km in length and with 12 corners, the track has hosted the Thai Round of the Superbike World Championship since 2015. It has a spectator capacity of 100,000 people and the grandstands offer an excellent view of the entire track.