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MotoGP riders ready to vroom in uncharted territory

The MotoGP riders strike a happy pose at the pre-event press conference

Bengaluru, October 5: It is time for bikes to head out on track for the Thailand Grand Prix, putting Chang International Circuit into the pantheon of MotoGP history as it becomes the newest venue to play host.

But before engines on, it was time to talk in the pre-event press conference and with so much unknown on the horizon, there was plenty to say.

Reigning champion Marc Marquez (Repsol Honda Team) was joined by his closest chaser Andrea Dovizioso (Ducati Team), Valentino Rossi (Movistar Yamaha MotoGP), Andrea Iannone (Team Suzuki Ecstar), his team-mate Alex Rins and Aprilia Racing Team Gresini's Aleix Espargaro in the press conference, with talk kicking off with the pre-event in Bangkok for Marquez.

Traditional welcome

Traditional welcome

Ahead of the race, reigning champion Marc Marquez and other riders were given an official welcome ceremony at Makaharn Fort.

The Repsol Honda rider was joined by some home heroes - Moto3 rider Nakarin Atiratphuvapat (Honda Team Asia), Thitipong Warakorn (SAG Team), Apiwath Wongthananon (VR46 Master Camp Team) and former Asia Talent Cup Champion Somkiat Chantra (AP Honda Racing Thailand).

Taste of MotoGP

Taste of MotoGP

Marquez made sure the city got a real taste of MotoGP as he rode down Ratchadamnoen Avenue, all the way up to the democracy monument, where he did a couple of laps.

With the clock ticking down, it was time to head for Buriram - with Marquez soon roaring into town to enjoy the first ever Grand Prix at Chang International Circuit.

Heat factor

Heat factor

"It was a tough day. It was hotter. But we had a good day, including riding the tuk tuk in the city," said the number 93 of his day in the Thai capital.

The heat was also on the tip of the tongue of Valentino Rossi - for whom Chang International Circuit counts as the 37th career venue.

"The weather is difficult because it's very very hot, and it can rain every day. So first we hope for a dry race! We did the test here and it wasn't great but we're in a difficult moment so we have to try and concentrate."

Ducati ride

Ducati ride

Andrea Dovizioso is one of those who has gained a lot of momentum since that first test in Thailand. It wasn't a timesheet-topping test for the Italian then, but does the track look good for the Ducati on paper?

"The first half of the track yeah," he said, but "the second half is a bit slow, second gear and we struggled in the test."

Now every one has arrived, it's reset for racing - with the goal the same as always; fighting for the win.

The question remains as to who has improved since testing at Buriram - and what the race weekend will bring.

Friday (October 5) sees free practice begin and the race is on Sunday (October 7) at 2pm local time (12.30noon IST)

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    Story first published: Friday, October 5, 2018, 11:44 [IST]
    Other articles published on Oct 5, 2018
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