Immediately after the Aragon GP in Spain two weeks ago, it was time to swiftly pack up the equipment, bikes and gear to prepare for the first in a long series of ‘fly-away’ races.
Chang International Circuit will host MotoGP for only the second time, meaning this relatively new circuit is still a bit of an unknown for many riders and teams. Last year it was voted ‘Best GP of 2018’ and there was a huge crowd of 220,000 people.
Despite a great season so far, Alex Rins has endured disappointments in recent weeks due to a crash in Misano and a tricky race at home in Aragon. The Spaniard, who holds third place in the championship will be more motivated than ever to get back on track and begin the ‘Asiatic Tour’ with a strong finish. Last year he came sixth in the race.
Joan Mir, now back to 100% fitness, has been finding good form with his GSX-RR. Showing strong pace during several sessions at the Aragon GP, the rookie then struggled during the race after sustaining bike damage. However, he is keen to return to action in Thailand and continue building up stronger results.
Located around five hours drive from Thailand’s capital Bangkok, Buriram literally translates to ‘City of Happiness’ – and the atmosphere is effervescent with so many passionate Thai fans coming to cheer on the MotoGP stars. Chang International circuit boasts a kilometre-long straight and some of the best spectating opportunities of the whole season.
Davide Brivio – Team Manager: “I think Buriram can be a good track for us, and I hope we can get good results here. We are pretty much competitive everywhere now, so there’s no reason why it shouldn’t suit us. We’re already getting towards the end of the season, so we want to stay strong and finish 2019 in a good way with both our riders.”
Alex Rins: “It’s been a pity for me not to get the results I’m capable of during the last couple of rounds, but now we sort of ‘restart’ the season with all these overseas races and it’s a good chance to reset. Despite my recent results, I’m still feeling very strong in general, and I hope to bring my bike to a good result this weekend. The atmosphere in Thailand is always impressive with so many fans! It will be exciting.”
Joan Mir: “Like everyone else, I’ve only ridden here once. Last year I had good pace during the whole weekend, but I crashed on the first corner of the Moto2 race. I hope I can bring the competitiveness I had here in 2018 and continue with the good feelings I’m having with my GSX-RR. It’s always a tricky race because of high temperatures, but I feel that our Suzuki can go well. I’m ready to give my best.”
Manuel Cazeaux – Alex Rins’ Crew Chief: “Buriram is a challenge in itself because it’s only the second time we’ve come here, so we don’t have much experience when it comes to setting up the bike for the Chang circuit. The bike stays straight and upright for quite a long time, which can wear the tyres quickly, so we try to control spinning and preserve the tyres – especially the rear. The temperatures get so high here, but it’s similar to what we find in Malaysia, so we know how to cope with that. The layout is interesting, with some hard braking and some fast and following areas. We hope to find a good balance and set-up.”