Mandalika, Indonesia

Mandalika MotoGP Saturday Round Up: Chaos Reigns, Honda Riders Moan At Michelin, And Ducatis Menace

The first Indonesian GP in 25 years has been a complicated affair. A new track, in the middle of a construction site where a new resort is being built. A track which was resurfaced after the test uncovered issues with the asphalt. The blistering tropical heat, capable of raising track temperatures to well over 60°. The swapping out of the rear tire used at the test for an older, safer tire used in Austria and Buriram to prevent the tire from blistering if track temperatures get that high. And the intense rains which leave the track wet for a long time, have eaten into setup time, and keep washing dirt onto the surface.

When working on a problem, such as the correct setup for a MotoGP bike, engineers like to change one variable at a time, to understand how it works. At Mandalika, that just hasn't been possible. The teams already had two new variables – a new track surface and different tires – thrown at them, and the weather is adding a third. It is making it almost impossible to figure out what needs to be changed to make the bikes go faster.

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2022 Mandalika MotoGP FP4 Result: Morbidelli Leads After Red Flag

As if the build-up to qualifying wasn’t dramatic enough, the final practice session got off to a tricky and red-hued start, with a Suzuki-branded fireball lighting up under Alex Rins and prompting a crash for Johann Zarco on the resulting oil spill at turn 10. A quick clean-up operation got underway under a red flag and then the session resumed for the remaining 23 minutes.

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2022 Mandalika MotoGP FP3 Result: Marquez Teases But Doesn’t Threaten

One way or another, FP3 was going to be dramatic for the premier class. If dry, it meant another tough fight for the top 10, if wet, it would become a long drumroll for a premium Q1 line-up. The weather seemed set on the latter, with heavy rainfall on Saturday morning, but a drying line creeped in early into the session and hinted at some headline-worthy antics in the closing stages.

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