Cal Crutchlow topped the first day of testing at Chang International Circuit, taking over from reigning Champion Marc Marquez later in the session to set a 1:30.797.
Despite setting the fastest lap so far by a MotoGP rider at the new venue, the Brit was nevertheless only 0.012 ahead of a late charge from Alex Rins by the end of action. Marquez was third, just 0.033 ahead of 2017 Championship rival Andrea Dovizioso.
Rins’ second place was equally impressive. The Spaniard, going into only his second season and having suffered some problems with injury last year, had good pace throughout most of the day and his late charge looked set to see him take over at the top until his final sector.
But it was only 0.012 off Crutchlow, and teammate Andrea Iannone made it double delight for Suzuki in the top ten, ninth quickest as the Hamamatsu factory tested, amongst other things, a new exhaust already tested in Sepang, as well as continuing their work on engine configurations.
Dovizioso, meanwhile, took back the honour of top Ducati on Day 1 in Thailand, and was only 0.033 off Marquez. The two men were locked together at the top for some time, before aero began to steal the headlines away from the timesheets.
Ducati are expected to have three new aero fairings at Buriram, and Dovizioso tried two of them on Day 1. Chassis updates could also be on the cards for the Borgo Panigale factory in Thailand, aimed at mid-corner improvements– something that would aid Sepang’s fastest Jorge Lorenzo even more. At Buriram on Friday, the five-time Champion was tenth fastest, just over four tenths off Crutchlow.
Danilo Petrucci was another Ducati presence in the top ten as he took P6 on the GP18 on test duty, just ahead of his new teammate Jack Miller. Miller was again a force to be reckoned with and looked settled in – only 0.041 off the Italian ahead of him.
There was also an Italian behind him – Valentino Rossi. On his 39th birthday, the ‘Doctor’ took eighth and was the quickest Yamaha, putting in an impressive 74 laps and topping the lap counter for the Iwata marque.
Teammate Maverick Viñales was P11, but only a tenth further back – with the timesheets incredibly close. Incredibly close was also apt for Johann Zarco, who was 0.011 off Viñales to take twelfth – and also confirmed that he will be using the 2016 chassis this season.
Can Movistar Yamaha fix their problems in Thailand? 15/02/2018
After a difficult 2017 and mixed first pre-season test in Sepang, will Movistar Yamaha be able to find the right direction in Buriram?
His new teammate for the Thai test was a new face in the premier class: Hafizh Syahrin, who is riding with Monster Yamaha Tech 3 during the event with a view to replacing Jonas Folger full time in 2018. Syahrin, the first Malaysian in MotoGP, was within half a second of fellow rookies Xavier Simeon and the slightly faster – despite sitting out the Valencia test last year – Tom Lüthi.
The quickest rookie, however, was Takaaki Nakagami once again. The Japanese rider was P17 overall but within nine tenths of the top, with reigning Moto2 World Champion Franco Morbidelli close behind in P19 but only half a tenth further back. With 20 riders within a second, half a tenth makes its mark.
Tito Rabat was P13 on Day 1 and only 0.002 ahead of Alvaro Bautista as the two Independent Team Ducati riders just edged ahead of the Aprilia Racing Team Gresini riders. Aleix Espargaro was P15 for Noale factory Aprilia, and teammate Scott Redding was right behind him and both within nine tenths.
Pedrosa concludes Thai test on top
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Folger decided to sit out the season in
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Iannone takes to the top of the timeshee
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Yamaha top the timesheets, and Marquez c
Perdosa happy to end the season with a w
We wanted this title as much as Marc did
Marquez hails "an incredible opponent" D
Zarco sees he must be happy not sad afte
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2018 MotoGP calendar updated
British GP to remain at Silverstone for
Zarco thinks he can fight for the win on
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Folger making progress on the road to re
2018 MotoGP provisional entry list
Moving to Ducati was the right decision
A "step" with the bike gives Pedrosa con
Pol Espargaro please by KTM’s progressio
Rossi feels Yamaha could have been compe
Zarco was thinking he could win
Dovizioso top in Warm Up, Marquez eighth
Dovizioso feels ready for the 25 points
The rhythm is more of a question for the
Marquez fastest in FP4 after recovering
Dovizioso heads FP1 as action opens at S
Van der Mark targets to improve in every
Viñales planned to push in the last 5 la
Aleix Espargaro forced to si out of Mala
Crutchlow says this is what MotoGP is al
Iannone trying his best on every lap
Dovizioso will have to give it our all i
Zarco so happy he could fight for victor
If you don’t want to play the game, stay
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Marquez leads Viñales and Pedrosa in wet
Dovizioso: “The reality is different to
Marquez throws down the gauntlet with po
Marquez tops wet Philip Island FP3
Crutchlow expecting "a big battle" at Ph
Aleix Espargaro heads Marquez & Dovizios
Pedrosa had no control on the bike at th
Lorenzo unhappy with Zarco's move at Mot
Dovizioso & Marquez speak about their du
Petrucci was starting to think about his
Dovizioso wins last corner duel to beat
Zarco takes shock pole in Japan
Dovizioso leads the way to Q2, Rossi thr
Crutchlow & Lorenzo disagree over FP1 cr
Aleix Espargaro aiming for podium after
Japanese GP: Dovizioso beats Marquez to
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Nozane to replace Folger at Motegi
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Folger forced to withdraw from Japanese
Rossi did everything possible to get pre
Marquez had to revert to 2016 way of thi
Smith and Espargaro confirmed at KTM for
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Title key is is to treat all rivals equa
Training accident rules Miller out of Mo
Aleix Espargaro thought h could have a g
Vinales suffered from tyre choice at Ara
Rossi "quite proud, very happy and satis
Marquez "took a lot of risk" to win home
Lorenzo feels he is getting closer to th
Marquez leads Spanish podium lockout and
Vinales pleased to be on pole
Lorenzo believes a good start will be th
Rossi thinks he can do the race but know
Marquez thinks "pushing a bit too much"
Vinales takes pole, incredible front row
2017/2018 MotoGP test calendar released
MotoGP FP3: Marquez tops session, Rossi
Pedrosa: "Tomorrow we’ll see which condi
Rossi quite happy and did not feel a lot
Lorenzo happy with "quite competitive" d
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Simeon joins Avintia for 2018 & 2019
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