Marquez Takes A Fighting Fifth Place In Wet Thai Grand Prix
Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) continued his remarkable comeback from surgery by fighting through the pack to score a fine fifth place in today’s rain-affected Thai Grand Prix, less than three seconds behind the victor.
MotoGP was thrown a curveball this afternoon when torrential, thunderous downpours soaked the Chang International Circuit in the hours before the feature MotoGP race
The start was delayed by just under one hour and race distance reduced by one lap, from 26 to 25. All of the weekend’s previous MotoGP outings were in the dry, so riders had to quickly get up to speed in the treacherous conditions, with spray causing serious them vision problems.
Starting from eighth on the grid, Marquez decided to ease his way into the contest. After establishing himself in fourth by lap six, the 29-year-old Spaniard began pressuring Pecco Bagnaia for third place but couldn’t find a way past. As the race moved into its final stages he was unable to prevent Johann Zarco passing him and relegating him to fifth
Although Honda’s six-times MotoGP World Champion missed out on a 100th premier-class podium by less than a second he regarded this fifth place as another solid result, because his current priority is to regain fitness and strength, so he can build towards what he hopes will be a successful 2023 season.
There were other positives to take from this weekend, Marquez’s third since his comeback at the Aragon GP two weeks ago, following a four-month layoff. It was obvious to everyone watching that he now feels he can once again push his Honda RC213V to its limits in dry conditions, saving front-end slides, which he couldn’t do before the fourth operation on his upper right arm, which he had in early June.
Marquez now returns to Spain to continue his rehabilitation with his physiotherapists with the aim of coming back even stronger at the Australian GP a fortnight from now.
Three places further back his younger brother Alex Marquez (LCR Honda CASTROL Honda RC213V) who enjoyed one of his strongest rides of the season, finishing eighth for his second-best result of 2022. The 26-year-old Spaniard was in formidable form in the first half of the race, gaining an impressive six places on the first lap and a further four on the second!
By lap seven the younger Marquez was fighting inside the top six and threatening to close in on the podium contenders. But as the track began drying towards the end he lost some grip and dropped back to eighth. Still, this showcased the Spaniard’s speed as he collected a fourth top-ten finish of the year and his fifth consecutive points score.
After enduring a difficult Saturday in dry conditions, Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda Team Honda RC213V) was able to recover six places today to finish a solid 14th. The 31-year-old Spaniard still lacked some edge grip in the very wet conditions and couldn’t quite make the progress he desired. This was the tenth occasion the 2013 Moto2 World Champion has scored points during 2022.
Tetsuta Nagashima (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V) performed commendably well in his second MotoGP race – and his first in the wet – avoiding mistakes on the slippery track to finish 22nd. The 30-year-old from Kanagawa made his MotoGP debut as a Wild Card rider last week at Motegi. Today he took the place of MotoGP regular Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda RC213V), who has undergone surgery on a right-hand injury sustained at last month’s Aragon GP.
After a run of three consecutive race weekends, Honda’s four MotoGP riders have ten days to rest ahead of the Australian GP and then the Malaysian GP, which take place on back-to-back weekends on 16th and 23rd October. The 2022 season concludes at Valencia, Spain, on 6th November.