Jorge Martin secured a potentially crucial Thai MotoGP victory after coming out on top of a breathless battle with Brad Binder and Francesco Bagnaia for supremacy.

The Pramac Ducati rider managed to hold the lead after suffering another poor start as he had in the Saturday sprint encounter, VR46’s Luca Marini again unable to make the Spaniard pay for a sluggish getaway.

From then on Martin instigated a slower pace to try and preserve his hard rear tyre, while Binder focussed on scything back through the pack having dropped as far back as fifth early on. By the time half-race distance had been completed, the KTM man was fixed to the rear of Martin’s machine.

Martin eventually began to try and escape from the rest as the race entered its final third, though Binder and title rival Bagnaia followed him every step of the way as they looked to steal away the leadership.

As the race entered its final laps, Martin seemingly began to struggle for grip and looked to be a sitting duck for the pressuring Binder.

Sure enough, after several laps of moving every which way to find an opening, Binder fired down the inside of Martin at Turn 9 to take the lead. The South African failed to pull clear of Martin though, the Saturday sprint victor remaining close enough for a possible lunge even despite his defending from Bagnaia.

Martin managed to get a run at Binder on the penultimate lap and dived back through to the lead at Turn 2, though Binder – keen to secure his first win in over two years – continued to push him as the final lap began.

He exacted as much pressure as he could on a defensive Martin, though he ultimately came up short as the leader struck back at every blow Binder could throw at him to take the chequered flag just 0.114s clear.

Binder’s day would get worse just moments later though as he was demoted to third after the flag for touching the green on the last lap, gifting Bagnaia second and a crucial four points for the championship. This sees Bagnaia head into the Malaysian GP weekend just 13 points clear of Martin.

Marco Bezzecchi looked after his rubber well to come through to fourth in the end on his VR46 Ducati machine, while Aleix Espargaro completed the top five for Aprilia having tussled for the lead in the early tours.

Fabio Quartararo claimed sixth for Yamaha having made progress late on, with Honda’s Marc Marquez securing a battling seventh ahead of Marini, who faded in the latter stages with rear grip woes.

Fabio Di Gianantonio fought back to bag a fourth-successive top ten result in ninth for Gresini, while Johann Zarco struggled in the heat of Thailand to complete the top ten on the sister Pramac entry.

Franco Morbidelli recovered well from 18th on the grid to secure 11th ahead of Joan Mir, while Enea Bastianini was 13th on his factory Ducati ahead of the final two points scorers of LCR Honda’s Takaaki Nakagmai and RNF Aprilia’s Raul Fernandez.

It was a tough day for the three remaining KTM RC16 bikes in the field, as all failed to make the points positions.

Jack Miller led the trio home in 16th, with GasGas pair Augusto Fernandez and Pol Espargaro rounding off the 18 men that reached the chequered flag.

Maverick Vinales and Miguel Oliveira both had to retire their Aprilia’s with mechanical problems, while Alex Marquez crashed his Gresini Ducati from third at mid-distance after losing the front mid-corner.

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