One thing that is the biggest challenge for MotoGP racers at the Grand Prix of Indonesia on Sunday 20 March 2022 is the difficulty of overtaking at the Mandalika Circuit.
Defending champion Fabio Quartararo will look to maintain pole position after securing pole position thanks to a best record of 1:31,067 in the qualifying session, Saturday 19 March 2022.
The closest threat to the Yamaha rider is the Pramac Racing team duo, Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco, who parked their two Ducati motorbikes in the front row.
It's hard to know how the race will be, because it's a new track. We don't know what will happen, but we will try our best," Quartararo said after qualifying. "I feel much better than Qatar and my potential is much better to fight for the win here.
The Monster Energy Yamaha racer wants to forget the bad result at Losail where he was only able to finish P9 after his Yamaha bike experienced problems with tire pressure and a top speed deficit.
Arriving at Mandalika, the French racer faced a new challenge on a circuit that had just undergone re-pavement of some of its tracks following the recommendations of Dorna and the FIM after the official test in Lombok last month.
Although the track is still not completely clean, Quartararo feels the asphalt at the Mandalika circuit is better than the conditions he found during the pre-season test.
Then, the racing line which is still narrow at Mandalika does not give many choices for riders who want to put pressure on their rivals. "For me it's one of the most difficult tracks to overtake, so it's quite positive to start from the front row," said Quartararo.
2020 world champion Joan Mir was surprisingly eliminated from the race for the top two slots in Q1 and will start from P18 after struggling to find the right grip and setting in Mandalika.
After almost always falling when driving around corners, the Spaniard is not even sure he can survive the 27-lap race at Mandalika later. "Even I thought I was going to crash, because I was riding too close to the limit at every corner, and in these conditions it's very easy to make mistakes.
It will be difficult if we don't improve," said Mir. Mir will anticipate the decline in tire performance during the race and steal the opportunity if Suzuki can find better grip to maintain speed during the race later.
"It's not easy to overtake at this track, but when racing every lap it will be easy because of the decrease (tire performance). But this is not an easy track to go from 18th starting position," he said.
Next up: Another Suzuki team driver... Another Suzuki team driver Alex Rins was luckier than his teammate after securing P8. From the third row, Rins will try to push forward as early as possible at the beginning of the race.
"Here the difficult lap is overtaking, because there is only one racing line and not much space to overtake," said Rins, who found his bike spewing fire from the rear in FP3. "The overtake will be very tight with the other riders, so the key is a good start.