Roughed up into Turn 1, the reigning champion nose-dived down the order from 4th to 17th place on the opening lap of a rain-delayed race.

But the big surprise was that, despite finishing runner-up in the wet Indonesian round earlier this year, Quartararo then dropped even further back, to 19th by lap 9.

An accident for Remy Gardner and re-pass on RNF’s Cal Crutchlow marked Quartararo’s only progress during the remainder of the 26 laps, crossing the finish line in 17th place, 34-seconds behind Miguel Oliveira’s KTM.

For comparison, Quartararo had been just 2.2s behind Oliveira in the Mandalika rain.

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Quartararo walked straight out of the Yamaha pits after the race and cancelled his subsequent media activities, but said in a Yamaha press release:

"Rain fell at the worst possible time for us. We had not much wet track time before the race started - just a few minutes.

"The first laps of the race were really tricky. I was pushed wide by Jack in Turn 1 and it only got worse from there. I was trying to find a good feeling, but in Turn 4 I had a moment, and the visibility was really bad.

"I'm sorry for the Thai fans. I had hoped to do a better race in front of them. We have an idea why we struggled that much, but we will investigate more to improve for the future. We'll try to come back stronger in Australia."

Meregalli: 'Race was a gamble, championship starts from zero now'

"We did not talk to Fabio after the race, because he was probably really disappointed and frustrated and went straight to his office to cool down," said Monster Yamaha team director Massimo Meregalli.

"It's also difficult for us to judge [what happened] until we speak with him. We have to talk to him, check the data and see if they match.

"For sure the race was a gamble for everyone, having done all the sessions in the dry and then racing in the wet. But we did the same in Indonesia and performed very well. Here it was totally the opposite.

"The reason is unclear. We think maybe [it was because] the level of grip was much lower compared to Indonesia because if the tarmac is grippy we perform very well, but when it doesn't bite, for us it's a problem.

"Franco rode a decent race in tricky conditions until the front tyre dropped in the final stages. Having exceeded track limits on five occasions, he also received a three-second penalty that puts him in 13th place.

"Even the track was against us today. It became dryer lap by lap, making the mixed conditions more difficult for us. We need to understand why in Indonesia we fight for the win in rainy conditions and here it‘s the total opposite. We are leaving Thailand feeling disappointed.

"The championship is starting from zero now and I think there is the only way to try to win and that's to attack."

What went wrong for Yamaha?

Yamaha test rider Crutchlow was sure that high front-tyre pressure was to blame for both his and Quartararo’s Buriram woes.

“I expected a lot more but as you can see today it wasn’t Yamaha’s day. We couldn’t lean the bike, couldn’t go around the corner. Too much heat in the front tyre, too much pressure in the front tyre," said the Englishman, who eventually finished 19th. 

“The tyre pressure was just so high - already on the first lap of the race.

“I was in a group with Fabio. Fabio couldn't turn the bike, couldn't lean the bike over, the front wheel was not following the corner. I had exactly the same feeling.

“I had a high pressure the whole race. Way, way too high and we would have been and should have been better than 19th today. I knew already in the warm-up lap that this bike was not going to be great.

“I had to push a lot with the rear because the front was so high pressure and so hot that I couldn’t ride with the front wheel, so I had to ride with the rear.

“I passed Fabio, he was behind me by one second or something. It came down to 0.4. I was not gaining on the guys in the front and wasn’t going to be in the points so I left him past. But he stayed in the same position I was in before.

“Bad weekend for Yamaha all around. It’s unfortunate because I think if it’s a dry race, we would have all had good races, from our pace.

“But we expected more in the rain as well because Fabio was on the podium in Mandalika. Then we come here and we are absolutely nowhere. And Fabio’s a good wet weather rider. So it’s a shame.

"The bike, honestly speaking, is not the best in the dry. As we know. Fabio's riding so well in the dry, he's making the difference. And in the rain everyone’s riding as good as what they were, but our bike [problems are] exaggerated even more.

"So we need to improve it. Frankie had a good race, honestly speaking, but he still finished 20-seconds from the winner.”

Asked who makes the call on tyre pressures, Crutchlow replied: “The wrong person. They should let the riders fix it! I know what I used to run. And I know what I run now…”

The only time Quartararo has finished lower than 17th since joining the MotoGP class was 18th place at the (dry) 2020 Aragon round.

The cause on that occasion? High front-tyre pressure.