|Marc Marquez of Spain surpassed arch-rival Fabio Quartaroro of France in the last lap to win the Thailand Grand Prix and claim his eighth MotoGP World title in Buri Ram province on Sunday.
It was a champion performance from the title defender who chased the unfancied Frenchman right from the start. His initial attempts to take the lead failed until he changed gears in the final lap to finally speed ahead.
“I had planned from the start of the weekend to win the race, not worrying about winning the championship or the battle between me and [Andrea] Dovizioso. My target was to try to find the best way to win the race,” said the 26-year-old, who also produced a late resurgence to win the title here last year, overtaking Dovizioso in the last corner.
It was a stunning rebound for the Spaniard who collapsed twice, on Friday and Saturday. He timed 39:36.223 mins to win his ninth race of the season, which propelled him to eighth for the World Championship crown with 325 points, leaving closest rival Dovizioso with no chance to catch up as he is at a distant second with 215 points though there are four more races.
“Fabio was really fast in most parts of the race. I wasn’t able to grab the lead in the middle of the race. I caught up in the last lap and took it from there. It’s been an amazing year. It’s now time for me to enjoy and celebrate the eighth [world] title,” added Marquez, who has won the World Championship titles in 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, the youngest-ever to have eight world titles. He also has 14 podium positions in 2019.
Quartaroro, the 20-year-old rookie, who was the youngest to achieve four pole positions including at the start of Sunday’s race, appeared to be on his way for a maiden victory before the late resurgence from Marquez.
“I can’t say anything except that I’m so proud of the work of my team and myself. I couldn’t be happier as I fought until the last corner. I had already tried everything. If I didn’t try to make a move in the last corner, I would have been unhappy. My time will come,” said the French rider, who had to settle for second place, for the third time this year including in Catalan and San Marino.
He timed 39:36.394 with Maverick Vinales of Spain coming in third in 39:37.603. The runner-up in 2018, Dovizioso of Italy, came in fourth in 39:47.441.