Martin blitzes lap record for Thai GP pole
By Kyle White
Saturday 28th October, 2023 - 4:26pm
Jorge Martin blasted the lap record for pole at the Thai Grand Prix as the Pramac Ducati rider set his sights on closing the deficit in the MotoGP World Championship with four rounds left.
Martin arrived at Round 17 trailing by 27 points to defending champion Francesco Bagnaia, who qualified on the second row in sixth on his factory Ducati Team entry.
A blistering 1:29.287s – the fastest ever lap at the Buriram International Circuit – secured pole for Martin by 0.138s from VR46 Ducati’s Luca Marini, with Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing) completing the front row.
Italy’s Marco Bezzecchi, fastest in 2022 as he bagged his maiden premier class pole in Thailand, set an early marker of 1:29.789s to lead Fabio Quartararo (Monster Energy Yamaha) by two tenths.
Martin then took over at the top, smashing the all-time lap record with a 1:29.491s while South African Brad Binder moved into second on the Red Bull KTM at 0.208s adrift, pushing Bezzecchi to third with Aleix Espargaro in fourth.
Bezzecchi climbed to second with a 1:29.671s on the satellite Ducati, 0.167s down on Martin, as the first time attacks ended.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez and his brother Alex (Gresini Ducati) sat out the first part of Q2 after already using up some of their new tyres in Qualifying 1.
After the switch to fresh rubber, Bezzecchi was on a quick lap and clocked a 1:29.483s for provisional pole.
Martin was holding second with Bagnaia moving into a provisional front row start in third ahead of Espargaro. Honda’s Marquez, who tucked in behind Bagnaia for a tow, was sixth after his first run.
Undeterred, Martin then pulled another scorching lap out of the bag to reclaim pole with a 1:29.287s while Marini slotted into second and Espargaro filled the front row places.
Bezzecchi sealed fourth to head up the second row, 0.196s down on Martin, with Binder and Bagnaia in fifth and sixth respectively.
Alex Marquez and his brother Marc will start from the third row in seventh and eighth, where they are joined by Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing).
Gresini’s Marquez earlier topped Q1 from his older brother, who successfully used Aussie Jack Miller (Red Bull KTM) for a tow to snatch second spot and clinch his place in Qualifying 2.
Quartararo qualified 10th ahead of Johann Zarco (Pramac Ducati) and Augusto Fernandez (GasGas Tech3 KTM).
Fabio Di Giannantonio was 13th on the Gresini Ducati as he heads up Row 5 with RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez and Miller.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda), Pol Espargaro (GasGas Tech3 KTM), Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha), Joan Mir (Repsol Honda), Miguel Oliveira (RNF Aprilia) and Enea Bastianini (Lenovo Ducati) completed the final two rows.