The second round of the 2022 MotoGP World Championship will take place at the new Mandalika International Circuit, marking the return of MotoGP to Indonesia for the first time since 1997.
After hosting the WorldSBK season finale at the end of November, Mandalika will now host MotoGP for its second official event after a three-day pre-season test which took place last month.
With the track surface and safety issues being hot topics of discussion after the test, the Mandalika circuit underwent further resurfacing, while adjustments to the edges of the circuit also took place.
Areas that have yet to be completed include sections of the paddock that will likely remain unfinished during the event.
Leading the championship heading into round two is Gresini Racing Ducati’s Enea Bastianini, after the Italian claimed a sensational maiden victory in Qatar.
A constant threat to the podium in the final races of 2021, Bastianini has already taken a step forward as he looks to build on a promising start to 2022, a year that could see him become a genuine title contender?
KTM’s Brad Binder finished second to Lusail, who, like Bastianini, had his best MotoGP start to the season.
Binder’s podium was not only his first in Qatar since 2016, but also the Austrian manufacturer’s first-ever premier class podium at the Lusail International Circuit.
To complete the podium, Pol Espargaro continued his impressive form in pre-season testing. Espargaro led 17 of the 22 laps, and after dominating the Mandalika test, the Spaniard starts this weekend as the strong favorite for victory.
While the opening round went well for all three riders mentioned, title favorites Fabio Quartararo and Francesco Bagnaia had disappointing weekends.
Quartararo, who lacked pace throughout the weekend, especially in qualifying, was only able to finish ninth after being edged out by Johann Zarco.
Top speed issues continue to plague Quartararo and Yamaha as the Frenchman was regularly bottom of the speed charts, while Bagnaia crashed and wiped out fellow pre-race favorite and pole sitter Jorge Martin.
One of the expected title contenders in 2022 who managed to crack the top five was Marc Marquez as he got the better of Joan Mir for fifth place.
Update: Fabio Quartararo will start the first-ever Mandalika MotoGP from pole after setting a new lap record for the second day in a row.
Joining the Frenchman in the front row will be Pramac Ducati riders Jorge Martin and Johann Zarco, while Brad Binder’s one-lap progression will continue to earn P4 – his best qualification since moving to MotoGP in 2020.