Zarco set five consecutive fastest laps in the wet Buriram conditions, passing Marc Marquez and eventually finishing fourth. Miguel Oliveira won.

Ducati Lenovo Team rider Bagnaia finished on the podium and Pramac Racing’s Zarco did not try to cost his teammate any points as the title race heats up, Laverty thinks.

MotoGP 2023 Rider Line-Up | MotoGP 2022

“Honestly, it looked like he tempered his aggression on the last two laps,” Laverty said on BT Sport.

“He had a chance at the win. You could see how hard he was pushing. He was the man with the pace.

“But on the last two laps I think he possibly could have made an attempt, a manoeuvre at Pecco.

“But he thought of his Ducati contract! He was playing the game!”

Sylvain Guintoli said: “He pushed hard to get to Marquez and Pecco. The mix of having pushed on the tyres, and also thinking of the championship and a Ducati contract in the future!”

What happened to Fabio Quartararo?

Bagnaia reduced the deficit from 18 to two points in the MotoGP 2022 standings behind leader Fabio Quartararo, who had a shocking race and finished 17th.

“He gave away 12 seconds on the first lap,” Laverty said about Quartararo. “He wasn’t even the fastest Yamaha out there, he was half-a-second slower than his teammate. He couldn’t challenge the Ducatis.

“It will be tough for him to take, a tough race. He will be disappointed.”

Guintoli said: “It looked like he was struggling for side grip, hesitating on the corners.

“It took him ages to get up to speed. It just didn’t happen for him today.

“One week - the difference it makes! The margins are so small so you need to have confidence. In the wet it is about confidence and side-grip.”