MotoGP

Indonesia MotoGP race start delayed due to torrential rain

MotoGP returns to Indonesia for the first time since 1997 has been delayed indefinitely after heavy rain battered the Mandalika track around half an hour before the race was due to get underway.

The race was due to get underway at 3:00pm local time (7:00am GMT), but was initially delayed to 3:10pm.

However, the rain has not relented and pitlane remains closed due to the large volume of standing water on track currently.

No new schedule has been issued by race direction.

The race had already been reduced from 27 laps to 20 laps owing to safety fears about the circuit in the heat.

Race direction’s information regarding exactly what the problems with the asphalt are has been scant, though some Moto2 riders have reported some surface break-up at the final corner from their race.

The Moto2 race – won by Somkiat Chantra – was shortened from 25 laps to 16 laps just moments before it was due to get underway.

Rain in the pitlane

Photo by: Scherazade Mulia Saraswati

The circuit was partially resurfaced following February’s pre-season test after numerous problems with the asphalt.

MotoGP’s return to Indonesia has been fraught with issues all weekend.

Tyre supplier Michelin was forced to bring a stiffer tyre carcass not used since 2018 to cope with the extreme heat at Mandalika having experienced problems with its normal 2022 tyres in February’s pre-season test.

This has caused some manufacturers to have severe rear grip issues, chiefly Honda, who topped February’s test at Mandalika with Pol Espargaro.

The Spaniard, who qualified 16th behind team-mate Marc Marquez, said on Saturday that Michelin’s solution regarding its tyre concerns was “unfair” on HRC and expressed feares that he may struggle to finish the race due to the strain his lack of rear grip is placing on the RC213V’s front-end.

On Sunday morning in the warm-up session, Marquez had a violent crash when the rear let go on him through Turn 7.

The six-time world champion suffered a concussion and has now been ruled out of the grand prix.


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