A hostile Thailand for the MV Agusta Reparto Corse team.
Exactly one month after the triumphant gallop at Phillip Island the team from Schiranna was prepared to relive another glory day, which unfortunately fell to pieces three laps from the end when Jules Cluzel, solidly in the lead for 10 laps, found himself astride a crippled F3.
The Frenchman’s poor luck left space for the win to the home rider, Ratthapark Wilairot (Team CORE Motorsport Thailand), making the result one for the records: never before had a Thai rider won a motorcycling race and it happened for the first time on a home track, thanks to the unfortunate DNF for the Italian three-cylinder.
All we can do is hope that we can cash in our luck soon, perhaps already in the next round at Aragon in Spain scheduled for 12 April.
But let’s have a look at what happened: Cluzel was so supernatural that his bike fell into line as well. Lined up on the starting grid with the second best time (1:37:550), he lost a position at the start to Kyle Smith’s Honda, a spot he took back straight away at the first braking section. His unchallenged pace took him into the lead by the fourth lap thanks to a textbook overtake on Sofuoglu’s Kawasaki, also caught up in the following lap by the Honda ridden by home town hero Ratthapark Wilairot.
In the eighth lap Zanetti’s day also ended in disaster when, solidly holding onto seventh place, he crashed out for the second time on this trip due to the slippery kerb on this new Thai track. A lap later, victim to a similar crash, Kyle Smith’s race also came to an end, another protagonist at the high end of the overall standings. From the tenth to the thirteenth lap a long distance challenge begun between Cluzel and Wilairot, the Frenchman responding by pushing with lap record-setting force. From the tenth to the thirteenth lap he continued to shave off time until putting the track record on the sheets with 1:37:887 and widening the gap in front of the Thai rider to more than one second.
The next lap would be one of sorrow for the Italians and joy for the Thai. Unfortunately performance was also less than brilliant in WSBK with Leon dropping out of both races with an electrical problem.
After a day like this one, CEO Giovanni Castiglioni’s rueful comment was:”… I can’t deny the disappointment for a débâcle like this one. Nevertheless I’m sure that we will know how to react quickly and I expect to see a much different scenario in the upcoming European rounds. If I have to think of something positive about this trip, I saw an ultra-fine riding technique in Jules, his line going into turns was truly impressive.”