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Kubo Dashes to P9 in Drenched Thai GP

Kubo Dashes to P9 in Drenched Thai GP

Rain disrupted the Thailand Grand Prix Moto2 race. Keminth Kubo put in a stellar performance, negotiating the tricky conditions well, riding to P9, his best result of the 2022 season. Having missed the tyre-swap window going back to slicks in the start procedure, Manuel Gonzalez had to commence from pit lane. He ended the race in 25th place.

The Chang International Circuit was looking gloomy and overcast, but Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team‘s Keminth Kubo shone brightly despite the sudden rain. He had climbed up to ninth in the race, before the red flags. Unable to swap tyres back to slicks in time during the Wet Race Start Procedure, Manuel Gonzalez had to commence the challenge from pit lane. The track was more rain-soaked than he expected. He had to change back to wets and ended the race in 25th place.

Rain pouring down just seconds before the Moto2 Thai GP race meant the start was delayed. With the race being declared wet and shortened to 16 laps, riders were allowed to change tyres until three minutes before the start of the warm-up lap.

One person who was happy to see the rain fall on the starting grid was Kubo. The home hero is known to be a confident wet weather rider. He had a strong start from P16 but went wide in Turn 1. The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp rider recovered well, though, and completed the first lap in 12th place.

There was almost no visibility on track due to the spray, but the pace was hot. Kubo settled in ninth place as other riders got caught out by the treacherous conditions. With his compatriot crashing out from the lead, the Thai fans rallied behind the number-81 rider, cheering him on. Kubo managed the tricky conditions well but lost a few positions as the rain increased. Red flags came out with eight laps to go. As they hadn‘t completed two thirds of the race distance yet, there was originally going to be a restart for a five laps dash. However, further rain ended that option. Instead, half points were awarded for the original race. Kubo‘s ninth place earned him 3.5 points.

Gonzalez took a gamble at the start of the Thai GP. He wanted to go back to slicks, but missed the tyre-swap window. He had to start from pit lane instead of from P10. He was on slicks, but it turned out to put him at a disadvantage as the circuit was more soaked than expected. He was lapping in last place and decided to come into the pits again.

Once back out on wets, he had a gap of more than a minute and a half to the rider ahead of him. He still kept his head down. It looked like his fortunes changed when the race was red flagged eight laps before the end. A restart would have meant that Manugass would be able to take part in the five-lap sprint starting from the back end of the grid in 25th place, much closer to the riders ahead. However, further red flags after the delayed start of Race 2 ended his hopes of making strides. In the end the Race 1 results were deemed final, leaving the Spaniard in 25th place.

Today‘s race results keep Gonzalez in 19th place in the championship standings with 44 points. Keminth Kubo climbs up to 25th with 7.5 points. The Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team are now in 12th position, with 60.5 points.

The team will enjoy one week off before travelling to Australia for Round 18, held at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit from 14-16 October.

Gelete Nieto

Sports Director

"Crazy race! Today we saw that life can change in a second. At the last moment, on the grid, we decided with Manu to use the slick tyres. The grid was dry, so we thought it was the best option. He had to start from pit lane, but suddenly it started raining a lot and we lost our chance. We took this risk trying to reach a great position, but it didn't happen. Kubo‘s crew decided to go with the rain tyres. He ended the race inside the top 10 for the first time. And it's at his home GP - that's an amazing result! It was not easy, but he managed the race very well! We are all proud of him!"

Keminth Kubo - P9

Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team

"In Warm Up I had a good pace but not a good feeling with the front. I tried to follow Manu, and I made a mistake and crashed in Turn 7. Anyway, the lap time was good, and I finished in the 14th position. When we were close to starting the race, the weather was changing, and the rain came. It was with one minute to go, and we started a wet race. I immediately recovered some positions when the race started. In front of me it was chaos! The rain was really heavy. I tried to overtake some riders, but the bike was set up for dry conditions, of course. I tried to push and finally the red flag came. I definitely agree with the decision to stop the race. We were then supposed to restart the race, but when we exited the pit, at corner 3, everybody put their arm up. It was impossible to ride. So, the race finished like this and I'm in ninth position! I'm so happy, my first top 10! Many thanks to my team, they worked a lot for me this weekend! This result is because of them."

Manuel Gonzalez - P25

Yamaha VR46 Master Camp Team

"Today, we were in theory closer than ever to a podium result, but it wasn't to be. On the grid, there was a lot of chaos, but the rain stopped, and the track was dry. Luca, my crew chief, and I decided to use the slick tyres. But everyone was exiting with the rain tyres, and our hopes came to nothing. One minute later, it started raining very hard, so I knew the race was over. I entered to change tyres and finished the race, but there was too much rain to race, so they cancelled it. It's a big shame because the weekend was one of the best of the year, and we were ready for a good race. I'm happy for Kubo, my teammate. He did very well at his home GP."