The Mandalika International Street Circuit, after 25 years MotoGP returns to Indonesia. After the Superbike World Championship completed its last race of the season there in 2021, MotoGP now also makes a guest appearance in Indonesia for its second race of the season and already Saturday offered a lot. Hot temperatures, hot maneuvers and a Suzuki so hot that Rins’ bike caught fire. But what qualifying showed us was how draining the track and the temperatures are for the riders. They were drained and exhausted. You guessed there what was to come on Sunday and yet everything turned out differently.
An hour and a half before the start of the MotoGP it was announced that the MotoGP race would be shortened by seven laps. Not because of the weather, but because of the asphalt. There were problems in turns two, three and 17, exactly on the newly asphalted parts of the track. Already after last year’s SBK race and at the latest after the MotoGP test, there was a lot of concern about the asphalt. Riders complained about the track condition and Indonesia followed suit. Under high pressure, new asphalt was laid to meet the demands. The work was completed in time. But the temperatures that affected the asphalt unfortunately led to problems again, so that the race had to be shortened.
In addition to the asphalt problems, a new challenge for the MotoGP riders was announced at the end of the Moto2 race. Dark clouds were gathering. At the latest after the first rain capes were to be seen on the ranks, one knew it will come something from above. It is rainy season in Indonesia and the sky opened its gates. It poured with rain, lightning and thunder. The entire track was under water. The start was postponed indefinitely and the big wait began. Probably the two most curious scenes were in the waiting time, the lightning strike in the turf at turn nine and the lady who performed a ceremony to drive out the rain. Whether it was due to the lady or just the wind, the clouds cleared and the sky brightened.
After more than an hour’s delay, the race finally started. The rain had subsided, only the race track was still very wet. Given the track conditions, a chaos race could be expected with many crashes and slippery moments. The slippery moments were there, but the race went off without major crashes. The most impressive, or rather the most confident, was Miguel Oliveira. The Portuguese competed for the 50th time in MotoGP today and crowned this anniversary with a victory. He was able to quickly get ahead of pole setter Fabio Quartararo at the start of the race and build a lead. It was an unchallenged victory for the KTM rider. He was joined on the podium by Fabio Quartararo and Johan Zarco.
After all the delay, this first race at the Mandalika International Street Circuit has come to a good end. Maybe for next season they will think about not putting the race in Indonesia in the rainy season, then they will save the delay and the waiting time for the riders. Now it goes on in Argentina, let’s see what we will meet there.
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