Fast-finishing Zarco says Bagnaia's title bid more important than Thailand win

Johann Zarco says he was happy to give Francesco Bagnaia a helping hand in the MotoGP title race rather than push for a Thailand Grand Prix victory on Sunday.

Miguel Oliveira secured his second win of the season on a wet day in Buriram following a delayed start due to heavy rain, with Bagnaia third behind Jack Miller.

Zarco moved up to fourth as he thrived in drier conditions late in the race, but the Pramac Racing rider resisted the temptation to push for victory at the risk of damaging Bagnaia's title hopes.

With Fabio Quartararo only able to finish 17th, Ducati's Bagnaia reduced the defending champion's lead in the standings to only two points with three races to go.

Zarco said: "I was waiting for it to get drier, but it came a bit too late. The amount of water at the beginning of the race was difficult for me.

"The others had a bit more pace and I could not attack too much, I was sliding, so I've lost positions.

"Then it took time to get dry, if it could get dry a bit earlier I would have taken the advantage much earlier and could think about the victory.

"Four laps from the end I was there and two laps from the end almost fighting for the podium, but also hesitating a bit with Pecco as he is doing a great championship.

"I didn't want to make a mistake in the Ducati group. I was really hoping for victory today in these conditions, but I stayed fourth and it's good enough for me."

He added: "It's kind of being clever in the championship. I have lost too many points many races ago.

"I need to race to try to catch a victory, but I have nothing to fight for [in the championship battle], so that's why.

"We are a big group at Ducati, I think if we can sometimes give help in some way, I'm pretty glad the race has been like that."

Aleix Espargaro finished back in 11th and is 20 points adrift of Quartararo, while rookie Marco Bezzecchi crossed the line in 16th after starting on pole for the first time.