Moto3: Rivals line up to take on Martin
Moto3 championship leader Jorge Martin put on quite a show at MotorLand Aragon, taking pole and then disappearing from the holeshot to stretch out an incredible lead and cross the line in clear air. But Marco Bezzecchi came back from a big grid penalty to take second, and that in itself was a statement: it will be no walk in the park if Martin expects to keep winning. More than that, coming home second from so far back was supreme damage limitation, meaning the Italian lost only five points of ground. With the twists and turns of the season so far we already know how quickly things can change and Bezzecchi will want to hit back quick at Buriram.
The first of those trying to play catch up before it becomes a definitive duel for the crown is Fabio Di Giannantonio, who is now 18 points behind Bezzecchi. Behind him? Another man who put in an impressive comeback at MotorLand Aragon: Enea Bastianini. The ‘Beast', like Bezzecchi, rode through the pack and although he’s a way further behind, there are still 125 points up for grabs in 2018. Neither Bastianini nor Di Giannantonio are out of it, even before relying on simple black and white maths to tell us that.
Now, the fight for those points begins in Thailand, at a track that’s new to all and a very different challenge to that of MotorLand. Here there are no track records, no form books and no spring in the step of any previous winners – it is total reset, and anyone’s game.
Or is it? There are a select few who have raced at Chang International Circuit before: Asia Talent Cup alumni. Home hero Nakarin Atiratphuvapat won race two of the ATC in 2015, eventual Champion Ayumu Sasaki took two second places in 2015 and Kazuki Masaki has a number of top five finishes in the Cup, including a podium in 2015. 2016 Asia Talent Cup Champion Somkiat Chantra will also be on track as a wildcard, and the Thai rider has two wins to his name in Buriram. Will they have an advantage?