Battling Márquez extends Championship lead in Thailand
A crucial fifth place in the searing tropical heat is enough for Alex Márquez to leave Thailand with a 40-point advantage in the Moto2 title race while Xavi Vierge fails to finish due to an unfortunate crash.
- Some of the year’s most punishing conditions awaited the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS riders for the 15th round of 2019. The 24-lap race around the 2.83-mile Chang International Circuit got underway in ambient temperatures of 32 degrees.
- Alex Márquez was involved in a thrilling four-man fight for second and eventually finished fifth. A crash for Xavi Vierge on lap 11 ended his race early.
Alex Marquez, 5th, + 2.919 s. :
- Starting from his 5th pole position of the year, Márquez started brilliantly and led the first two laps before being overtaken by Luca Marini on the 2nd lap.
- The 23-year old was soon involved in an exciting four-rider fight for 2nd with Iker Lecuona, Brad Binder and Augusto Fernandez.
- As Lecuona and Binder escaped, Márquez enjoyed an aggressive battle with Fernandez for fourth. He eventually lost out by just 0.3 seconds.
- Thanks to the 11 points gained for 5th, Márquez now has 224 points, 40 more than Fernandez in the championship.
“Our lead is now two points more and we have one less race”
“It was a little tougher than we expected before the race. Our rhythm was good but already in the warm-up I saw that it was quite difficult to keep the pace. The conditions changed a little bit and it was more difficult for me. Anyway it was a good performance and we fought hard. I tried to stay towards the front to finish on the podium. In the end it wasn't possible but fifth place means more points for the championship. Our lead is now two points more and we have one less race. So it's positive. We have 100 points still to play for but a 40-point advantage so we need to keep pushing like this.”
Xavi Vierge, DNF
- After qualifying in an impressive 7th place on Saturday, Vierge and his squad noticed a technical issue during morning warm up that was resolved for the race.
- His team worked brilliantly to prepare the perfect bike for the race and Vierge started well. But early contact with other riders dropped him to 9th.
- Soon he climbed to 7th but as he fought to catch the lead group, Vierge’s afternoon came to an unfortunate end when he lost the front end when braking for turn 5 on lap 11.
- The result leaves Vierge 15th in the championship with 59 points.
“It’s a pity because we had the pace to fight with the top guys”
“First of all I want to say sorry to the team for my mistake. All weekend was really good. We chose the right tyres and had a good pace. From yesterday to this morning in the warm-up we saw that we had a problem. We fixed it for the race, but when you do a bad warm-up the problem is nobody respects you. I had a lot of problems when a lot of riders hit me on the first lap. I lost a lot of positions and after that I tried to catch the guys in front. I made a mistake at turn five. I lost the front and crashed. It’s a pity because we had the pace to fight with the top guys. We need to take the positives from this weekend and look forward to the next one.”
Joan Olive, Team Manager:
“Overall I’m happy with how the weekend went”
“Today it was a really difficult race for Alex compared to the rest of the weekend. He suffered more than Friday and yesterday so we need to analyse what happened to see if we can improve on that. On the other side it’s a shame about Xavi. He was improving and was closing on the front guys but a crash stopped him. I have to say that overall I’m happy with how the weekend went. Thinking about the championship we have now more points and one less race so this is positive for us. Now we’ll keep focussed, look ahead to the next race.”