Today, the FIM MotoGP World Championship made its first visit to Indonesia since 1997. The weekend’s talk was the poor track surface at the recently-built Mandalika International Street Circuit. The tires brought Michelin to the race weekend didn’t help the issue, and Honda suffered the most from this.
The reigning world champion Fabio Quartararo put his Yamaha on pole in qualifying, but all four Hondas failed to make Q2. Then during the morning warm-up session, Marc Marquez had a violent high-side crash. His Honda flung him through the air. Marquez walked away under his own power. However, he was diagnosed with a concussion after being airlifted to a hospital and declared unfit to race.
The race start was delayed for over an hour due to torrential rain. Though, the delay was certainly eventful. Quartararo dropped some ice cream in his garage and had a laugh along with a fan dancing in the stands. Also, lightning struck the track. A track worker undertook a traditional ritual to stop the rain. Joko Widodo, the President of Indonesia, appeared in front of the crowd and a military band played music in the pitlane.
The conditions eventually improved, and officials declared a new start time with the race shortened to 20 laps. At the start, Fabio Quartararo took the holeshot from pole. Behind the Yamaha, KTM’s Miguel Oliveira got to 2nd place from 7th on the grid. Oliveira’s pursuit of the world champion was swift as he took the lead at the start of the second lap. Ducati’s Jack Miller followed the KTM past Quartararo, and Miller took the lead that same lap. The pair dueled for a few laps before the KTM rider broke free as the leader.
Miguel Oliveira would win the Indonesian Grand Prix, with Quartararo finishing second and Pramac’s Johann Zarco finishing third. The multi-rider struggle for the lower steps on the podium was worth the wait for the packed grandstands. Enea Bastianini still leads the World Riders’ Championship by 2 points after his victory in Qatar.
MotoGP will return on April 3rd in Argentina.