The MotoGP riders liked the Mandalika circuit, at least when it came down to its design, with very fast corners that brought out the best in them. But when you ask them what they think about how it was made, then the answer is very different.
When they arrived at the Indonesian track for winter testing, the asphalt was in a very bad condition due to the dirt, but even after they managed to clean at least the main line, things did not improve. The problem is that the asphalt has started to crumble and the MotoGP bikes were turned into stone-shooting machines.
Pecco Bagnaia was hit on the arm picking up a large bruise, “just imagine what could happen in the race, when you are in a group, if one of those stones hit the radiator it would hole it” he declared. After a few laps behind his teammate Franco Morbidelli, Fabio Quartararo said that he was hit by a shower of stones.
That something was not done in the right way is clear and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta himself admitted in an interview with Motorsport that “Obviously there was an error in the design of the asphalt in some sections of the circuit”.
The riders rightly complained and Franco Uncini, head of safety for the FIM, asked the circuit to resurface from turns 16 to 7. The problem is that time is short, the Indonesian GP is scheduled for the weekend from 18 to March 20, and in the end it was decided to intervene from the last corner to turn 5.
The work started yesterday and is being carried out by the same company that was responsible for the construction of the circuit. As you can see in the exclusive photos accompanying this article, the surface layer of the asphalt is being removed with a machine in order to lay it again.
Certainly carrying out such work a few weeks before the race is not optimal, but the end justifies the means. The intervention also concerns the most critical areas, but it is not excluded that the problem may arise in other areas.
More intensive work is planned for 2023, but for this year we will have to settle for what we’ve got and … keep our fingers crossed.