I had taught him the letters. He knew what his play was going to be. That's why he beat him. That's why he was able to further expand his advantage. Up to 77 points. And prepare to sing the alirón in a few weeks. Surely in Japan, where the next big prize is celebrated.
Marc Márquez won the first grand prize in Thailand on Sunday. He crossed the goal a few inches ahead of Andrea Dovizioso. The Italian stopped the clock just a tenth of a second after his rival did. Because they found themselves, again, in the last curve. As in Austria, more than a year ago. As in Japan, last October. The difference was that on this occasion he won the Honda. Because it is a sponge, because it learns, because it imitates, because it is corrected. Especially on the track. And, also, because not only do you not worry about risking to win, but you need it. He does not know how to run otherwise. That's why, often, he plays everything red in the last corner of the last lap.
As in Buriram, a circuit with long straights and some curves, with two very different zones. In the first two sectors you had to pull the engine, also in that last corner where braking was as important as the acceleration to face the finish well, which is located just around the corner. Sectors three and four, sweeter lines, tested the Ducati, with less step by curve than the Honda, which instead succumbed at the end of that contrarecta that reaches a kilometer in length at the beginning of each turn. In that game they met Marquez and Dovizioso.
They were tested at the start of the race. They had never run on this track, so you had to be careful, be smart and recognize the terrain before taking over the stage. They did it as soon as they tired of wheeling Valentino Rossi, who had played it (his M1 did not seem the most stable motorcycle this time) to overtake Márquez after five laps. Five laps later, they were Dovizioso first (he was the fastest, he signed the fastest lap on the fourth lap) and Márquez then the ones ahead of Yamaha. They took advantage, when taking the leadership, to calm the rhythm of the race. That 26 laps in such a tropical enclave are many.
Together with them, two were rolling the Yamaha, which seemed to come out of nowhere, after months in the dark. Viñales and Rossi, helped by the arrival of a special tire, more robust, for this race, so demanding and complicated by the high temperatures (32º of ambient temperature, 49º in the track) made opposite races: the Italian led the test until the tenth round and finished fourth; the second climbed from the sixth position to, little by little, earn the third place on the podium.
The real fight on Sunday was played just ahead of both. And it was Dovizioso who put the ball back into play when, with ten laps remaining, the pace increased again, half a second faster. And they got hooked on him; Márquez, the first. I should not lose sight of him. Because I wanted to try. Winning him closer to his fifth MotoGP crown. That's why he began to look for doors and windows that would allow him to enter the fortress that defended Dovizioso a few meters ahead. He looked for the way in that curve three in which the great straight of the circuit of Buriram culminates, in a tremendous braking. But that was not the best place. The power and stability of the Ducati are hard to beat. He tried more than once at the same point. Until he gave up. And he understood that his advantage was in the curves of the last section of circuit. There he took the lead. But, for a short time. In another strong braking, that of the last corner, Dovizioso overtook him. The scene was repeated again soon after. Identical The duel, clean, to the limit, was a delight.
And, when it seemed that Forli would stop the blow, Marquez showed him what he had learned. In the last curve. In this one in Buriram and in Austria, a year ago. Because then, like this Sunday, the battle was decided in the last corner and in the last seconds of a vibrant race. In an extreme braking and at a complex and difficult angle of 30 degrees. In which the Spanish imitated the previous maneuvers of his rival. Arrived at that last turn and that turn 13, Dovizioso braked very late, he got ahead and drew the angle. Too open It was a defense maneuver. That did not meet its objective. Marquez also braked to the limit, his front wheel crossed, the rear in the air, and lifted the bike so quickly, barely drawing the curve, just at the apex, which slipped inside the line of Dovi. And it came out first. And crossed first. And he scored his seventh victory of the year. Barbarian.
Within two weeks in Japan, he could be proclaimed world champion for the seventh time (adds two titles in the small categories). He will do it, basically, if he manages to finish ahead of Dovizioso again. The Italian would lengthen the agony in case of being ahead of him on the podium, because he has to cut two points. Márquez, in any case, still has four races ahead to put on the crown.