This weekend the seventeenth Grand Prix of 2023 will be held at the Chang International Circuit in Thailand. After disappointing races in Indonesia and Australia, the third race weekend in a row now awaits where Fieten Olie Racing GP hopes to come back strong with Barry Baltus and Zonta van den Goorbergh.
The Chang International Circuit has been on the MotoGP calendar since 2018 and is 4.55 kilometres long. The Buriram circuit has seven right turns and five left turns but is mainly characterised by three long straights with heavy braking points. Combined with the tropical heat and heavy rain showers that regularly fall, it is always a tough challenge for man and machine.
After Barry Baltus and Zonta van den Goorbergh finished in the points two weekends in a row in India and Japan, that was not repeated in Indonesia and Australia. In both races, the Belgian and Dutchman failed to finish so they and the team are keen to put that right this weekend in Thailand. Given the speed shown by Baltus and Van den Goorbergh in practice and qualifying, a double points finish is definitely a possibility this weekend.
Barry Baltus: “We are in Thailand and I hope it will be a bit more of a normal race weekend than we had last week. We had quite a good weekend in Phillip Island so I feel confident for what’s coming this weekend, although last year it was a bit difficult on this track. It looks like some rain is coming but that shouldn’t be a problem. I think we can do well in this third race weekend in a row and finish this triple header well.”
Zonta van den Goorbergh: “I am very motivated to get started again this weekend in Thailand. It's already the final one of this 'triple header'. We had a particular weekend at Phillip Island where we struggled a bit at the beginning but later managed to find our speed that we have had in the last few weeks as well. That was very positive. However, the race was very disappointing with a crash but we can rectify that this weekend with a good performance. I feel better now than a week ago after the crash in Indonesia so we will give everything this weekend."
Jarno Janssen – Fieten Olie Racing GP team manager: “We are already back in Thailand after an eventful race in Australia that did not end as we had hoped for us. The conditions there were incredibly tough but that is behind us so we are now focusing on the next one. It's actually a bit the opposite of Australia again here in Thailand with quite high temperatures, conditions are to compare with those in Indonesia. There is some chance of rain every day this weekend and when that happens here, it is really pouring down. We will pick up where we left off, it was promising last Sunday but it did not turn out that way. We are going to do our best either way."
The race weekend at the Chang International Circuit begins with two practice sessions on Friday and one practice session on Saturday morning, followed by qualifying on Saturday afternoon at 13:45 local time (08:45 Central European Time). The 22-lap race will start Sunday afternoon at 12:15 local time (06:15 CET). Please note that from Saturday to Sunday, the clock goes back one hour due to daylight savings.