Mandalika Circuit Reemerged in Front of Indonesian GP


The people of the MotoGP paddock were very happy with his return to Indonesia. The series has always wanted to return to a country at the heart of the MotoGP fanbase in Southeast Asia. Upon arrival at Mandalika, the teams and riders were delighted with the environment and the landscape and were very positive about the layout of the track. It was fast and fun. On the surface of the track, they were less happy.

It ended up being dirty, with mud and dust all over the course, and the riders had to do laps on the first day of testing to clean it up, creating a single race line. Once clean, the track had a lot of grip. However, this revealed another problem. The coating wears out very quickly, especially in areas with high acceleration and sudden braking, such as the first and last turns. The engine broke, tearing stones and stone chips from the surface and throwing them on the faces and bodies of the following drivers.

Pecco Bagnaia showed a large net on his arm where he had been hit by a loose stone, Alex Marquez showed us a similar mark on his throat during his Zoom briefing, and many runners, including Fabio Quartararo, complained of having received stones in the throat in particular. The problem, according to the specialists involved in the design of the tracks, is that the aggregate used in the construction contains too soft stones.

These stones were already crushed when the surface was laid, and the forces generated by the MotoGP motorcycles pulled these stones out of the surface and threw them into the path of the riders who were riding behind. The problem was not only in MotoGP. Retired Ducati WorldSBK rider Chaz Davies noted on Twitter that they had encountered similar problems when the production series visited the track last November.

At the Mandalika Safety Commission, the drivers demanded action. Originally, they had requested that the race be postponed to July to have enough time to reopen the track, but this request was rejected. However, the conditions were so bad that something had to be done. The FIM announced today that the Indonesian tourism development company, which manages the Mandalika project, has agreed to reopen part of the route from turn 17 (the last corner) to turn 5.

This is the area where the problems with the stones were the most serious. The resurfacing work will be carried out before the MotoGP in Indonesia on March 20th. In addition, the ITDC supervises the preparation of the entire surface and ensures that it is clean and in good condition to host a Grand Prix. Four weeks is a very short time to rediscover a clue. Considerable efforts are needed to achieve this, but a lot of construction is still underway on the site while the construction of infrastructure continues in the region.

This also leads to disputes with local landowners, as farmers are bought out of their land, but the Indonesian Konsinyasi system means that disputes over purchase sums leave them without land for a long time and without the money owed to them.

For farmers living near subsistence level, this has made life very difficult, which has been highlighted in the Indonesian media. The lack of infrastructure is also a problem in other respects. Housing in the area is very limited and roads are also being built in the area. MotoGP has to go to Indonesia because of the enormous importance of the market for the Sport. But there is still a long way to go before the area around the track can withstand the massive influx of people, including Fans and team members, with whom the Organization of a race is associated.

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