Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team) finishes Day 1 of the PTT Thailand Grand Prix at the Chang International Circuit at the top of the combined time sheets after setting a 1m31.090s to go 0.03s faster than FP1’s quickest rider Maverick Vinales (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda Castrol) completed the top three split by a slender 0.043s as Jorge Lorenzo (Ducati Team) suffered a huge crash.
Disaster struck for Lorenzo heading into Turn 3 with just over 10 minutes of the session remaining. As the Spaniard entered the corner, his GP18’s engine seemed to have an issue, causing Lorenzo to be launched over the top of the bike, landing heavily on his already injured right foot as the Ducati machine suffered severe damage. The five-time world champion was carried off on a stretcher and headed to the medical center for a checkup, before heading to the hospital for further examinations. Thankfully, the Ducati man was declared fit.
After Xavier Simeon (Reale Avintia Racing) crashed at Turn 3 shortly after Lorenzo’s crash, the red flags were shown with just over 12 minutes left of the session to clear the debris and potential fluid that was on the track. After the all-clear was given, the rest of the field came back out to put in a flurry of quicker times on fresh rubber. Vinales was the first man to oust Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) from P1 after the latter had led the entire session before Dovi and Crutchlow followed suit. Crutchlow improves from P11 in FP1 to end the day as the fastest Honda, with the championship leader ending the day in P4 — 0.098s the gap between the leading quartet.
Fifth on the combined times was Danilo Petrucci (Alma Pramac Racing), finishing 0.05s behind Marquez to improve from P9 in FP1, with Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar) a further 0.018 behind in sixth despite a fast crash at Turn 4 in FP2. Alvaro Bautista (Angel Nieto Team) managed to string a strong second Free Practice session together to end the day seventh fastest, a big improvement from the Spaniard’s P16 result in FP1 who then suffered a small crash at Turn 3 right at the end of the session.
Dani Pedrosa (Repsol Honda Team) ended the opening day in Thailand as the eighth-quickest rider, the three-time champion improving from P13 in the morning to finish just 0.295 from Dovizioso’s P1 time. Behind the Spaniard was FP1’s second-quickest man Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP). Rossi sits in a provisional Q2 place in ninth as he sported Yamaha’s new fairing, with fellow YZR-M1 rider Johann Zarco (Monster Yamaha Tech 3) leaving it late to grab 10th, 0.023s off Rossi and 0.331s behind Dovizioso in a tight top 10.
Scott Redding (Aprilia Racing Team Gresini) crashed at Turn 4, without injury.