“Not easy” for Martin to see Thailand MotoGP tyre wear after Australia loss

The Pramac Ducati rider was on course to convert pole to victory in last Saturday’s grand prix at Phillip Island, but plummeted to fifth on the final lap as his soft tyre gamble backfired.

It dropped him 27 points behind title rival Francesco Bagnaia coming to Thailand, with Martin fastest on Friday despite a crash at the end of second practice.

Martin admits he’s more ready for the sprint – having won the previous four Saturday contests – than he is for Sunday’s main race, citing worries about the high tyre wear seen at Buriram on Friday.

“I feel more ready for the sprint than for the Sunday,” said Martin, who set the pace in Friday practice.

“I think the Sunday will be a really long race. With the feeling that I had from Phillip Island, it’s not easy to come here and see that the tyres are dropping a lot.

“So, hopefully we can make the right choice. We understand what our opponents are doing and hopefully we can do a similar strategy.”

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racing

Pramac team-mate Johann Zarco was fourth at the end of Friday’s running a week on from his Australian GP victory.

With just four rounds left of the 2023 season, Zarco was asked if there have been any discussions within Pramac about team orders to help Martin’s title charge.

“Not yet, no,” he replied.

“But Martin is so fast, so even with the crash today he got the fast lap before.

“So, almost he can race without taking care of me because at the moment he is very, very fast and he can be fast whenever he wants.

“So, no, no discussion between riders or indications from Gino [Borsoi, team manager] to us.”

Bagnaia made it directly into Q2 for the first time since Japan on Friday in Thailand, ending the day seventh on his factory Ducati.

The championship leader appeared to have braking issues at the start of second practice, but noted he just didn’t have the feeling he was looking for and elected to change bikes instead of fettling with set-up. 

Asked if it was a relief to go straight into Q2 on Friday after failing to do so in Australia and Indonesia, Bagnaia said: “A lot, finally, but more it’s for the feeling.

“I can brake hard, which is so, so nice. I was missing this feeling of braking hard on the front and the bike following me.

“So, I’m very happy. Unluckily, I didn’t have the same feeling from this morning in the first part of the [second] practice.

“My rear tyre was not the best with the first medium and on the right side I was having some issues with the grip.

“But as soon as we put on the second medium for the time attack, I felt great again, everything went perfectly.

“The second attempt, unluckily, there was the yellow flag for Jorge and I didn’t have a chance at the second lap time.

“But the feeling was to be already in the 1m29s and I’m very happy about today.

“[My early second practice problem] was more about the feeling, because I prefer when the first part of the braking is aggressive.

“And to not waste time trying to get used to this feeling, I decided to go in and change it.”

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