Oliveira beats Miller as Bagnaia closes in on championship lead

Miguel Oliveira. Picture: MotoGP.com

Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira has beaten Jack Miller to victory in a wild, rain-affected Thailand MotoGP race as Francesco Bagnaia slashed Fabio Quartararo’s championship lead.

Bagnaia joined Oliveira and Miller on the podium while Quartararo failed to finish in the top 15, meaning the gap between the two is now just two points with three races to go.

After a delay of almost an hour due to a massive downpour at Buriram, a slightly shortened, 25-lap race got underway with Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Ducati) on pole position.

He and Jorge Martin (Prima Pramac Ducati) ran well wide at the first corner but the former emerged with the lead, ahead of Bagnaia and Miller on the Ducati Lenovo Team bikes.

Quartararo, however, had already dropped to the back of the top 10 as a result of being held wide at Turn 1, and the Monster Energy Yamaha rider plummeted to 17th when he had a big moment on the slippery painted run-off at Turn 4.

Miller passed Bagnaia for second on Lap 3 at Turn 3, and was first exactly a lap later when Bezzecchi had to drop a position as punishment for breaching track limits at the first corner of the contest and not slowing sufficiently.

Oliveira was on a charge, passing Bagnaia for third on Lap 5 and then bringing the Italian with him when he went under Bezzecchi next time around at Turn 3.

He quickly caught up to Miller and made one unsuccessful attempt at an overtake at Turn 12 on Lap 8, before pulling off the pass at the same spot, six laps later.

The Portuguese rider got as much as just over a second clear of Miller, before the Queenslander caught up on the final lap, but he could not get quite close enough to pass and 0.730s separated them at the stripe.

Meanwhile, Johann Zarco (Prima Pramac Ducati) was on an even bigger charge than Oliveira had been as the track dried out, passing Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda) for fourth on Lap 21 and then threatening Bagnaia.

However, he stayed behind his Ducati stablemate and ultimately had to keep Marquez at bay to secure fourth.

Enea Bastianini (Gresini Ducati) finished sixth at 10 seconds behind Marquez, with Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) seventh, from Alex Marquez (LCR Castrol Honda), Martin, and Brad Binder (Red Bull KTM).

Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) only qualified 13th but got up to 10th before having to serve a long lap penalty for an early hit with Binder, which dropped him to 14th.

He got back to 11th at the finish and is now 20 points behind Quartararo after the Frenchman never recovered from his opening lap dramas, running as low as 19th before taking the chequered flag in 17th and thus failing to score.

Bastianini and Miller retain fourth and fifth in the standings respectively, but are now 39 and 40 points behind Quartararo.

Bezzecchi slipped to 16th at the end and VR46 team-mate Luca Marini crashed while running fifth but remounted to finish two laps down in 23rd, meaning Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM) was the only DNF at Buriram after also hitting the deck in a separate incident.

Round 18, the Australian Grand Prix, takes place at Phillip Island on October 14-16.

Race results: Thailand MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 41:44.503
2 43 Jack MILLER AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +0.730
3 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +1.968
4 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +2.490
5 93 Marc MARQUEZ SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +2.958
6 23 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +13.257
7 12 Maverick VIÑALES SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia +14.566
8 73 Alex MARQUEZ SPA LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +14.861
9 89 Jorge MARTIN SPA Prima Pramac Racing Ducati +15.365
10 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +18.097
11 41 Aleix ESPARGARO SPA Aprilia Racing Aprilia +19.041
12 42 Alex RINS SPA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +19.659
13 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +22.439
14 44 Pol ESPARGARO SPA Repsol Honda Team Honda +23.646
15 25 Raul FERNANDEZ SPA Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +30.483
16 72 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +33.466
17 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +34.072
18 49 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +36.203
19 35 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha +36.532
20 9 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +42.508
21 40 Darryn BINDER RSA WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha +49.992
22 45 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +51.346
23 10 Luca MARINI ITA Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +2 laps
DNF 87 Remy GARDNER AUS Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +14 laps

Race winner: 25 laps

Riders’ championship

Pos Rider Nat Pts
1 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA 219
2 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA 217
3 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP 199
4 Enea BASTIANINI ITA 180
5 Jack MILLER AUS 179
6 Brad BINDER RSA 154
7 Johann ZARCO FRA 151
8 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR 131
9 Jorge MARTIN ESP 127
10 Maverick VIÑALES ESP 122
11 Alex RINS ESP 112
12 Luca MARINI ITA 101
13 Marc MARQUEZ ESP 84
14 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA 80
15 Joan MIR ESP 77
16 Alex MARQUEZ ESP 50
17 Pol ESPARGARO ESP 49
18 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN 46
19 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA 31
20 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA 23
21 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA 15
22 Darryn BINDER RSA 10
23 Remy GARDNER AUS 9
24 Raul FERNANDEZ ESP 9
25 Cal CRUTCHLOW GBR 3
26 Stefan BRADL GER 2
27 Michele PIRRO ITA 0
28 Lorenzo SAVADORI ITA 0
29 Danilo PETRUCCI ITA 0
30 Kazuki WATANABE JPN 0
31 Tetsuta NAGASHIMA JPN 0

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