Indonesian GP 2022 Preview: Mandalika makes his debut in the World Championship 

Indonesian GP 2022 will hold this weekend (March 18-20) the second round of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship. The Mandalika Circuit will debut as a MotoGP circuit and mark the return of the Asian country to the Championship since 1997.  

The 4,300-meter track was badly damaged by the traction of the two-wheeled beasts during February’s pre-season tests. With the partial resurfacing, it is impossible to know how good the grip on the new tarmac is going to be.

That and other matters make it very hard to predict how each of the competitors will bare this weekend. Also, the forecasted changing weather conditions, with heavy downpours likely at any point in time, and very high temperatures (45º C) add an extra layer of unpredictability to the event.

Arriving at the Lombok island racetrack is an unexpected leader of the standings. Thanks to his stunning victory with private team Gresini Racing at the Qatar GP, Enea Bastianini now has the challenging task of defending the lead of the table. It seems highly unlikely for the Italian to repeat the Losail feat, however, where he crushed all rivals on board his 2021 Ducati. 

Another rider that blew fans away at Losail was Brad Binder. Owing to the great electronic development work carried out on his RC16, the South African pilot gave a magical run on his KTM at the desert race.  

Honda´s Pol Espargaro: A candidate for glory  

Third in the standings is Pol Espargaró, one of the great favourites to win next Sunday. Thanks to the tame new RC213V, perfectly suited to his riding style, he was able to fulfil his potential and claim P3 in Losail. More importantly, he could have easily taken his first MotoGP victory if it hadn’t been for his rear tyre faltering under the pressure at four laps to the finish line. 

Espargaro is in great spirits to face the Indonesian MotoGP 2022 after beating his teammate and team leader, Marc Márquez. His optimism is justified. Back in February’s practice sessions he already showed a great rapport with the Mandalika track, where he topped that tests. 

As for his famous partner, he is still in the process of adapting to his revolutionary new Honda. Until he manages to get comfortable on his bike, the six-time MotoGP champion needs to focus on claiming as many points as possible without crashing. The competitive nature of the Spaniard, however, might drive him to take big risks sooner or later. 

His brother, Aleix Espargaró, for his part, has well-founded hopes of shining in Indonesia after finishing fourth in Qatar, a place that he also holds in the standings. He can dwell on his dreams of success thanks to his and his Aprilia’s solid performance so far.  

Yamaha: A champion in distress   

Several of the official teams are arriving at the 2022 Indonesian MotoGP with an urgent need to improve results. Yamaha’s best in Losail was Fabio Quartararo’s P9 – after two of his rivals crashed out that is-.

The team is sinking in the table possibly due to a considerable lack of top speed and a problem with excessive pressure in the front tyre in Catar. Perhaps Lombok’s layout, with its shorter straights, could make up for the shortcomings of the M1. 

Ducati: To take back its favourites’ title  

Ducati’s official team is also obliged to take a step forward following its debacle in Qatar. Hit by the unexpectedly poor performance of their Desmosedici GP22, neither Jack Miller nor Pecco Bagnaia completed the race at Losail. The Australian was out of the game in the opening laps after suffering an electrical issue, and the Italian crashed out later on, taking Spaniard Jorge Martín (Ducati Pramac Racing) with him. 

The Borgo Panigale factory, hailed as the great favourites for the crown ahead of the start of the season, need to get back on their feet if they want to dispel the mounting doubts surrounding their title bid. 

Suzuki needs to bounce back 

Another disappointing start of the season from the Hamamatsu marquee. Confident by their great results in the gree practice sessions, Suzuki believed to be back on the track they lost after being crowned with Joan Mir in 2020 but it was only a mirage in the desert. In the end, Mir and Álex Rins had to make do with P6 and P7 respectively. 

Images of Indonesian GP 2022: Honda HRC.

Leave a Reply