Mandalika, Indonesia

Mandalika, Michelin, Marquez - How A Chain Of Unfortunate Choices Ended In Disaster

Honda went into the Indonesian Grand Prix widely seen as potential front runners. Pol Espargaro had been fastest in the test at Mandalika a month previously, Marc Marquez had been quickest on the second day of the test, Honda riders had set a consistently fast pace, looking better than their single-lap speed. What's more, Espargaro was coming off a podium at the season opener at Qatar, the race where Marc Marquez had finished fifth.

To say the Indonesian Grand Prix ended badly for Honda is an understatement. Pol Espargaro was fastest Honda once again, but the Repsol rider crossed the line way down in 12th, 33 seconds behind the winner, Miguel Oliveira. Espargaro was one of only two Honda riders to finish in the points, crossing the line just ahead of Alex Marquez on the LCR Honda in 13th. Takaaki Nakagami could only struggle to a 19th place, 49 seconds behind the winner.

That wasn't the really bad news, however. The worst blow for Honda was the fact that Marc Marquez manage to miss the race, and perhaps endanger his chances of the 2022 title, or worse. Much worse.

Living on the edge

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MotoGP Grand Prix Commission Bans Front Ride-Height Devices From 2023

There has been much debate over the past two months over the use of front ride-height devices, hydraulic-mechanical systems which lower the front of a MotoGP bike on corner exit. Ever since Ducati turned up with the device at the Sepang test, the other motorcycle manufacturers have complained about it as a waste of money, an expensive way of finding small performance gains.

That prompted an internal discussion inside the MSMA, the association of motorcycle manufacturers racing in MotoGP. Five factories were opposed to the use of front ride-height devices, while Ducati felt they were being punished for their innovation. If the devices were to be banned, then Ducati had wanted to postpone such a ban from going into force until 2024.

Ducat has lost out on both counts, however. Two proposals were put to the Grand Prix Commission, and the GPC decided to adopt the proposal banning front ride-height devices from next season.

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Marc Marquez Diagnosed With Double Vision After Massive Highside In Mandalika

Marc Marquez has suffered yet another injury setback on his long road to recovery. He has been diagnosed with another episode of diplopia, or double vision, after his huge highside in the morning warm up before the Indonesian Grand Prix at Mandalika.

Marquez was ruled unfit after the crash, and did not take part in the race at Mandalika. At the time, he had undergone scans to check for broken bones and brain trauma, but the scans turned up nothing serious. Fearing a concussion, however, Marquez was not allowed to ride, a decision he and his team supported.

During his trip back to Spain, however, he started to suffer vision problems again. On arrival in Barcelona, he met with the opthalmologist who has been treating him during his previous bouts with double vision, and he was diagnosed with diplopia again. The only ray of light in this situation is that this episode is less severe than the previous bout he suffered at the end of 2021.

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Mandalika MotoGP Sunday Subscriber Notes: Indonesia Deserves Better, Why Confidence Matters, And A Surprising Rookie

As I wrote on Thursday, if there is one nation which deserves a MotoGP race, it is Indonesia. The fact that the President himself turned up for the race, (and actually hung around for the MotoGP race, rather than disappearing once the formalities had been handled) says plenty about the central role which the sport plays in Indonesia.

Indonesia may deserve a MotoGP round, but they deserve better than they got at Mandalika. Despite the fact that we had three races at the track, with three deserving winners, including an Indonesian rider on the front row in Moto3 and the first ever Thai winner of a grand prix, with Somkiat Chantra's victory in Moto2, MotoGP got through the event by the skin of its teeth.

Starting with the crowds. The fans who turned up were fantastic, enthusiastic and clearly reveling in the fact that they had a race in their home country at last. The official attendance figure was 62,923, but to paraphrase a popularly misattributed aphorism, there are lies, damned lies, and official sporting event attendance numbers.

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Marc Marquez Ruled Out Of Mandalika MotoGP Race With Concussion

After a massive highside during warm up for the Mandalika MotoGP race, Marc Marquez has been ruled unfit to race. The Repsol Honda rider had the rear of his RC213V come round at him at Turn 7, before spitting him off in the biggest highside seen in MotoGP for a very long time. Marquez was clearly shaken, but got up and walked away.

Marquez was taken to a local hospital where no broken bones were found, but it was clear Marquez had taken a bang to the head. After examination by Dr Charte and the circuit doctors, and consultation with the team, Marquez was ruled unfit due to a possible concussion. Marquez will undergo a period of observation of 12 to 24 hours, before being allowed to return home.

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