At the conclusion of the third MotoGP Winter test in Buriram, Thailand, Dani Pedrosa (#26) of Repsol Honda posted the fastest time of 1:29.781. In second was Johann Zarco (#5) of Monster Yamaha Tech 3 who clocked 1:29.867 while team mate Malaysian Hafizh Syahrin (#55) posted a time of 1:31.537, putting him in 21st place for the winter test.

Coming in third was Cal Crutchlow (#35) of LCR Honda, with a time of 1:30.064 while current MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez (#93) of Repsol Honda came in fourth, clocking 1:30.064. Highest placed Ducati rider during winter testing was Andrea Dovizioso (#4) of Ducati who came in seventh, clocking 1:30.192.

Fan favourite Valentino Rossi (#46), riding for Movistar Yamaha MotoGP, was in tenth place with a time of 1:30.511. Dovizioso’s Ducati team mate, multiple world champion Jorge Lorenzo (#99) managed to get 22nd position with a time of 1:31.627.

The 2018 MotoGP season looks to be a three-way fight between Pedrosa, Zarco and incumbent Marquez, with Dovizioso possibly being the spanner in the works. With Rossi being hit by injury last season, and Lorenzo still fighting to find his form on the Desmosedici GP18, this year’s MotoGP might see a new name making it into the roster.

As for Malaysian racer Hafizh Syahrin, known to fans as “Pescao 55”, this is his first season in the top-flight, after leaving SIC Racing Team recently. Other Malaysian riders in the MotoGP circus are Zulfahmi Khairuddin, who replaced Hafizh in SIC Racing Team, and Khairul Idham Pawi (#89), also known as “SuperKIP”, riding for Idemitsu Honda Team Asia, in Moto2, with Adam Norrodin (#7) of Petronas Sprinta Racing in Moto3.

Designed by German architect Herman Tilke, Buriram International Circuit opened in 2014 and will see MotoGP making its debut this season. The 4.554 km layout incorporates 12 turns and has seen the Superbike World Championship racing at the venue since 2015, with an audience capacity of 100,000.