Thai rider Somkiat makes GP history

Thai rider Somkiat makes GP history

'Emotional' Oliveira claims top category

Somkiat Chantra celebrates on the podium after winning the Indonesian Moto2 Grand Prix.
Somkiat Chantra celebrates on the podium after winning the Indonesian Moto2 Grand Prix.

LOMBOK: Somkiat Chantra raced to a historic maiden Moto2 victory at the Indonesian Grand Prix at the Mandalika International Street Circuit in Lombok on Sunday as the sport returned to the Southeast Asian country for the first time since 1997.

Somkiat, of Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, became the first Thai rider to win any class of grand prix racing after he clocked a time of 25 minutes 40.876 seconds, 3.230sec ahead of second-placed Celestino Vietti of Italy.

Somkiat, who was absent from the season-opening race in Qatar due to injury, shot from fourth on the grid to dominate a Moto2 race that was shortened from 25 to 16 laps due to safety concerns over track conditions in the extreme Indonesian heat that hit 43C yesterday.

The Thai collected a maximum 25 points for the victory and moved to fourth place in the world championship standings while VR46 rider Vietti, who won in Qatar, was on 45 points, nine ahead of Pons Racing's Spanish rider Aron Canet, who completed the podium. Marc VDS rider Sam Lowes, of Britain, was third on 29 points.

Pole winner Jake Dixon of Britain went out of contention after he crashed at Turn 10.

In MotoGP race, which was delayed for 75 minutes by heavy rain, Miguel Oliveira held his nerve to win and then promised to give the trophy to his daughter.

The Portuguese KTM rider finished 2.205 sec ahead of current world champion Fabio Quartararo, of France, who had started from pole position on his Yamaha.

Another Frenchman, Johann Zarco, was a further 3.158sec adrift for the Pramac Racing team.

Quartararo bolted into the first corner comfortably ahead but by the end of the first lap had been reeled in by Oliveira and Australia's Jack Miller on a Ducati.

Oliveira spent a couple of laps behind the Australian before realising he had the pace to stretch away as the sodden track began to dry.

"When I overtook him, I just tried to focus for the next five laps," said Oliveira, who won his fifth grand prix. "Then I built the gap and I was managing it the whole race but it was for sure not easy."

"It's really emotional," said Oliveira. "I promised my daughter I would get a trophy from Indonesia, so this one is for you baby."

Six-time world champion Marc Marquez was earlier ruled out with concussion after a horror morning warm-up crash that catapulted him into the air on turn seven.

The Spaniard's Honda cartwheeled end-over-end as it disintegrated with Marquez appearing to land heavily on his left arm and hitting his helmet on the ground at around 180kph.

A shaken Marquez got to his feet and gingerly walked away before being taken to a nearby hospital where he was declared unfit to race.

The race was also reduced to 20 laps from the originally scheduled 27.

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