Mandalika–The “Fires of Hell” GP Quenched

Miguel Oliveira won the first Indonesian Grand Prix in 25 years on Sunday, holding off French challengers “Fabulous” Fabio Quartararo and Johann Zarco. The podium celebration featured a KTM, a Yamaha and a Ducati. Notably absent were representatives from Honda; it looks like it’s going to be another difficult year for the Suzuki and Aprilia contingents.

After two rounds, there are four riders within six points of series leader Enea Bastianini, with another four riders tied at ten points back. Pre-season fave Pecco Bagnaia and his GP22 have accumulated a total of one (1) point; a couple more outings like the first two and his unvarnished optimism is going to get shellacked. And please don’t get me started about Marc Marquez, whose dramatic high-side during the morning warm up came close to cracking his head wide open and led to his being declared unfit for the race.

Practice sessions on Friday and Saturday, appeared to be taking place inside an autoclave. The oppressive heat wreaked havoc with the riders, their machines, and the racing surface itself. Soft tires became the only viable choice for most of the teams, and on Saturday’s qualifying sessions they were going through them like salted nuts

Q1 was the most interesting such session I’ve seen since the qualifying format changed in 2013. A number of high-profile riders, including names such as Bagnaia, M Marquez, P Espargaro and Mir, had failed to pass through to Q2, due in no small part to surprisingly competent practice session from Oliveira and FDG. Exhibit A for the radical competition in Q1 was the fact that Marquez went through a passel of soft tires and crashed twice, subsequently landing in P15. He actually would have started the race in P14 but for the picky sanction applied to Frankie Morbidelli for violating some obscure rule about practice start procedures at the end of FP3.

During Sundays warm-up, Marquez went airborn in the most spectacular high-side I’ve seen since Jorge Lorenzo practically achieved a low earth orbit in China in 2009.

Naturally, Sunday was a frog strangler, with rain holding up the proceedings in the premier class for an hour. It was still wet when the lights went out. Since most of you have access to the results of the race by now (the MotoGP website has an excellent summary) I have virtually nothing to say about the race. The season-to-date standings are something else, though. The Beast added 5 points to the 25 he earned in Lusail (when did Losail become Lusail?) and still sits at the top of the standings, followed in close order by the surprising Brad Binder, a dangerous Quartararo, and today’s race winner Miguel Oliveira. Of particular interest is Marquez sitting down in P12 and, as mentioned above, Pecco Bagnaia resting in P20 with the likes of KTM rookies Raul Fernandez and Remy Gardner. Amazingly, rookie little brother Darryn Binder, enjoying a jump shift (for you bridge players) from Moto3 made his way into the Top 10 today.

Since this post is only for record keeping, that’s it for now. My buddy OldMoron is going to take this post apart in his inimitable style, which is fine with me. And, for the record, somebody named Somkiat Chantra won his first grand prix in Moto2, while Dennis “The Menace” Foggia won the Moto3 tilt in comfortable fashion.

Next stop: Another dirty track in Argentina in two weeks. This season is going to be a blast.

Errata from Canadian correspondent Allison Sullivan. Posted completely without permission of the author.

THAT.HIGHSIDE. was gnarly. You could tell it was so unexpected that Marc basically had no idea what had happened. That he got up and walked away is testament to the technological marvels those suits are, but that has to mess with his already fragile head.

(Speaking of which, is anyone watching MotoGP Unlimited on Amazon? I’ve just finished Ep 3 where Jorge Martin comes back from his broken leg, and he’s matter-of-factly talking about how his suit recorded 26G of force and he should have been dead. O_O)

I’m a fan of the The Beast, but I wouldn’t have picked him to be leading the series after 2 races. Fabio looks strong again this year, the rest of the field can’t afford to be spotting that boy points (cough, cough, Pecco). Style points for this week go to Alex Rins for his very undignified bail of his flaming Suzuki, and the bad luck award goes yet again to Jorge Martin (if that boy didn’t have bad luck, he’d have none).

I’m passing on the main race (rain races are never good watches), but I did watch Moto3 because I have to cheer for Ana Carrasco this season. Foggia and Izan Guevara definitely look to be the class acts of that field this year. Tatsu stayed upright, huzzah. Looks like Pedro is not finding Moto2 to be the cakewalk everyone predicted – it will be interesting to see if he finds form once they get to Europe.

Thank you, Allison.

Marquez on his way to the medical center.

Miguel winning his fourth GP in the premier class.

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13 Responses to “Mandalika–The “Fires of Hell” GP Quenched”

  1. Some Random Guy Says:

    Somkiat: “worthy of honor bestowed upon him” is the first Thai person who ever podiumed let alone won a motorcycle race in any tier of MotoGP.
    The kid has a funny English accent. He probably speaks Spanish.
    The Indonesian circuit is beautiful. As riders, you take your poison: riding in a sauna and get better grip, or riding in the wet, less grip but a lot cooler.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Mike Coleman Says:

    ‘Ello Bruce;
    A bit of a messy race, but a good job from you.

    Old Mike from Ontario, Canada

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Allison Sullivan Says:

    K, going to see if I can get my comment in the right place and bypass moderator hell this week 🙂

    THAT.HIGHSIDE. was gnarly. You could tell it was so unexpected that Marc basically had no idea what had happened. That he got up and walked away is testament to the technological marvels those suits are, but that has to mess with his already fragile head.

    (Speaking of which, is anyone watching MotoGP Unlimited on Amazon? I’ve just finished Ep 3 where Jorge Martin comes back from his broken leg, and he’s matter-of-factly talking about how his suit recorded 26G of force and he should have been dead. O_O)

    I’m a fan of the The Beast, but I wouldn’t have picked him to be leading the series after 2 races. Fabio looks strong again this year, the rest of the field can’t afford to be spotting that boy points (cough, cough, Pecco). Style points for this week go to Alex Rins for his very undignified bail of his flaming Suzuki, and the bad luck award goes yet again to Jorge Martin (if that boy didn’t have bad luck, he’d have none).

    I’m passing on the main race (rain races are never good watches), but I did watch Moto3 because I have to cheer for Ana Carrasco this season. Foggia and Izan Guevara definitely look to be the class acts of that field this year. Tatsu stayed upright, huzzah. Looks like Pedro is not finding Moto2 to be the cakewalk everyone predicted – it will be interesting to see if he finds form once they get to Europe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Old MOron Says:

    I said MM97 is washed up, but Jesus! What a horrible highside. Simon was explaining that with rear grip so low, just closing the throttle while leaned over was causing the back end to come around.

    How curious that the track has FANTASTIC grip in the wet. I couldn’t believe how hard everyone was riding. I like wet races, but this one was a real treat.

    I do wonder what’s going on with BaggyEyes. The 2022 Ducati can’t be that bad because the Pramac riders seem to be making it work.

    I’m happy for KTM. Can you believe they’re leading both the Team and Constructors championship? Where, oh where is Sayyed?

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Vrooom Says:

    Could not believe how wet that track was, it must have been like following a super soaker if you were drafting on the straight. Wet races always bring interesting results, not sure we’ll see Oliviera on the top step again this year, but it was sure fun to watch.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Old MOron Says:

    Interesting coverage of Ducati’s bikes on the official Moto GP website. Apparently there’s a 2021 bike, a 2022 bike, and a hybrid of the two.
    Bastianini is flying high on the 2021. Zarco is making the 2022 work. The factory pilots seem to be struggling on the hybrid.
    https://www.motogp.com/en/news/2022/03/10/how-bastianini-rose-to-the-occasion-as-the-gp22-fell-short/409630

    Liked by 2 people

  7. paulevalence Says:

    Sad to see MM out of this one, he’s a great wet weather rider. I was really surprised with Fabio, who is a poor wet weather rider. His fight back to a very well deserved 2nd was impressive!

    Is Olivera becoming the new Maverick Vinales? Nowhere one week then winning the next?

    I was soooo wanting them to stay with the battle for 8th on the last few laps! From the little they did show us, that was by far the most entertaining part of the race.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. vassilg Says:

    Suprising results but no one can predict wet races. Probably wet and hot suit Yamaha better then wet and cold.
    Last year I was thinking Marquez is done. But the last two seasons was not enough to dig a hole in his head, but seeing teammate who never win anything to be faster then him will be the last nail in his coffin.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. FX Says:

    “And please don’t get me started about Marc Marquez… ”

    FX on March 7, 2022 at 4:54 pm
    “I woudn’t bury Marquez just yet, he might have an ace up his sleeve, but hey, mum’s the word.”

    Well s##t…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Mad4TheCrest Says:

    If Miller hadn’t run a decent race I would be worrying that the factory Ducati squad was going to have an off year like they’ve had at times in the past, having to tolerate satellite squads stealing their thunder. But I hope not, since I drafted both factory Duc riders into my cyclevisor MotoGP fantasy team, joining Mir. Speaking of Master Jo-an, he’s riding like he’s afraid he’ll turn into Bins-Rins, being extra careful and therefore a bit too slow, it seems to me. Time to pull the finger out (as I am sure the Brit commentators might say).

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Spiff Says:

    Don’t bin it!33 (Test post)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Welcome to the blog. This weekend is jacked on account of, well, Termas but also because I have my daughter in town and will have basically no time for MotoGP until, like, Monday.

      Like

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