Riders discuss MotoGP’s “strange, characterful” first street circuit at Mandalika

MotoGP’s inaugural visit to its first street circuit and return to Indonesia in the Mandalika pre-season test has been met with widespread praise for the track layout.

Riders discuss MotoGP’s “strange, characterful” first street circuit at Mandalika

The final pre-season test ahead of the 2022 campaign got underway on Friday as MotoGP returned to Indonesia for the first time since 1997.

The Mandalika International Street Circuit is the first ‘street’ circuit to be used in the modern MotoGP era – though it is purpose-built venue that will eventually be used by local road traffic.

The 2.68-mile venue made its international race debut last November for the World Superbike finale, but had not been used again until Friday when MotoGP took to the circuit for the first of three days of testing.

As a result of this, plus construction work around the venue since then, the track was immensely dirty after rainfall on Friday morning.

The session was red-flagged for well over an hour while the track was cleaned, before riders were sent out to sweep the track on their bikes following a meeting with Dorna Sports and FIM safety officer Franco Uncini – which eventually resulted in a usable racing line.

This was met with criticism from some, with Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli labelling it “fucking dangerous” for MotoGP riders to clean tracks while Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro said the situation was “unrideable”.

Despite the difficult track conditions, the layout was met with praise from riders, with Honda’s Pol Espargaro noting that “it has its own character”.

“The track is nice. It has a little bit of everything,” said Espargaro, who was fastest on Friday.

“The only problem was we faced a situation in the morning where the track was very, very, very dirty and then we need to make laps to at least clean the line.

“By the ned the line was more or less clean, and with some rubber we could at least start to work on the bike.

“But apart from that I think the track was nice. It has very fast corners, very slow corners onto the back straight.

“It is very different and nice to what we’re used to, and this track – which is more important – I think it has its own character. It’s different from other tracks.

“Sometimes you go to a track where you feel like you’ve been riding for a week, but this track requires some technique.”

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Pol Espargaro, Repsol Honda Team

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

KTM’s Brad Binder says a rider spends a lot of time leant over at the 2.68-mile, 17-turn track, and says “there’s not much that compares” to the Mandalika layout.

“Well, the main straight is not super long here, and also the back straight is kind of cut in half because you carry so much speed through these changes of direction,” the South African explained.

“So as soon as you pick the bike up straight you are already on the brakes.

“So, there isn’t a lot of straights here for sure. But in general, you spend a lot of time on the edge here – not on the full edge of the tyre, but using a lot of lean angle.

“It’s a little bit tricky and it’s a bit of a strange track, there’s not much that compares to it with so many high-speed corners and always changing direction with the throttle.

“But I enjoyed the track.”

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Maverick Vinales, Aprilia Racing Team

Photo by: MotoGP

Six-time MotoGP world champion Marc Marquez admits the speed of the second sector forces a rider to “breathe before arriving there”.

While the dirt did clear on the surface as the day wore on, a number of riders were critical of the amount of stones being flicked up.

Some, such as RNF Racing’s Andrea Dovizioso, says those stones are coming straight from the asphalt – as if the circuit is breaking up.

Read Also:

But Suzuki’s Alex Rins thinks it’s more a legacy of the construction work going on around the track, though admits the stones are “quite dangerous”.

“I was exiting from the box and some laps you find someone, you need to close the throttle, because it's even worse than motocross because in motocross at least you can do another line,” Rins said.

“But here it’s difficult. I don’t think the stones are coming from the asphalt.

“I think maybe last time somebody ride here was Superbike, a really long time ago, construction and things [have gone on since].”

shares
comments

Related video

Morbidelli: MotoGP riders cleaning dirty tracks is “f****** dangerous”
Previous article

Morbidelli: MotoGP riders cleaning dirty tracks is “f****** dangerous”

Next article

2022 Mandalika MotoGP test: Marini top for Valentino Rossi’s team on day two

2022 Mandalika MotoGP test: Marini top for Valentino Rossi’s team on day two
The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend Plus

The Ducati rider who is much more than just the brother of a MotoGP legend

Surname pressure is something many have had to deal with in their motorsport careers. And while Luca Marini doesn’t have that, his familial relation and the team he rides for in MotoGP have cast a brighter spotlight on his progress. But, as he has shown in 2022 – and as he reveals to Autosport – Marini is so much more than just the brother of a legend

MotoGP
Dec 6, 2022
Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022 Plus

Ranking the top 10 riders of MotoGP 2022

The 2022 MotoGP season was another hotly contested championship, with Francesco Bagnaia emerging as the title winner after the campaign went to the wire. Autosport picks out the 10 best performers of the season

MotoGP
Nov 29, 2022
Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo? Plus

Was the MotoGP 2022 title won by Bagnaia or lost by Quartararo?

Reigning MotoGP world champion Fabio Quartararo had a 91-point lead over rival Francesco Bagnaia after the German Grand Prix, a seemingly impregnable gap to overcome in the remaining 10 races. But as the Frenchman struggled for pace with his Yamaha, Bagnaia stormed back into contention and swept to Ducati's first riders' title since 2007

MotoGP
Nov 25, 2022
Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests Plus

Why there's more to Honda's 2023 MotoGP bike than the Valencia test suggests

After a run on Honda's 2023 prototype MotoGP bike, six-time champion Marc Marquez made his pessimism clear with his initial reaction. But the Japanese marque has made leadership changes behind closed doors - and a more representative bike promised for the Malaysia test in February could placate Marquez

MotoGP
Nov 23, 2022
Why the new MotoGP world champion has a stronger character than it seems Plus

Why the new MotoGP world champion has a stronger character than it seems

While new MotoGP champion Francesco Bagnaia might not be the loudest rider on the grid, his calm exterior belies a steely backbone. His part in turning around Ducati's fortunes at the start of the year, when displeased with a new engine concept, shows the strength of his character

MotoGP
Nov 16, 2022
Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough Plus

Why Bagnaia's MotoGP triumph is as worthy as Stoner's Ducati breakthrough

OPINION: Despite the superiority exhibited by the Ducati in 2022, the context in which Francesco Bagnaia became MotoGP world champion means that both the rider and the Italian marque merit the same recognition that the brand and Casey Stoner received after their 2007 title

MotoGP
Nov 9, 2022
Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending Plus

Why the 2022 MotoGP season had a bittersweet ending

OPINION: MotoGP’s fifth last round showdown of the modern era delivered a tense finale despite the predictable outcome, as Francesco Bagnaia ended 15 years of pain for Ducati. But as emotions ran high for the Italian marque, a final victory for a departing Japanese rival tinged the campaign’s conclusion with sadness

MotoGP
Nov 7, 2022
Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun Plus

Why the 2023 MotoGP title battle has already begun

Since Ducati announced the arrival of Enea Bastianini to its factory team for 2023, the staging of the four-time race winner has strained the atmosphere within the Italian manufacturer, which has raised its guard in anticipation of what may happen between him and championship favourite Francesco Bagnaia

MotoGP
Nov 1, 2022