Mandalika turns MotoGP around

Fabio Quartararo. / AFP

Indonesian GP

Fabio Quartararo took the MotoGP pole position at the Indonesian Grand Prix after the disappointment in Qatar, on a bad day for Honda and Marc Márquez. The Spaniard went down twice in official training and will start fifteenth

BORJA GONZALEZ Mandalika Circuit (Indonesia)

Carlos Tatay, the Spanish Moto3 rider, made his debut this Saturday on pole in the Motorcycle World Championship, and also opened the top list on a grid at the new Mandalika Circuit. This in another day that began with a wet track, but which ended up allowing the important competition, which defines the starting positions on Sunday, to be played on dry ground. In Moto2, the one who got the honor of being the first in the history of this track was the British Jake Dixon, pupil of Jorge Martínez Aspar, who will have Augusto Fernández by his side this Sunday (at 6:20 in the morning peninsular time the test will begin, with Moto3 at 5 starting the day). In the official intermediate class, Pedro Acosta crashed again, which will force him to start tenth, with a long lap penalty to be served in the race for not respecting another rider's crash signals this Friday. MotoGP closed the day, with results that, to a certain extent, turned some of the forecasts that had been made seeing what happened in the preseason, and also on the first Sunday of the year in Qatar.

The Yamaha riders had left that race with many doubts. Fabio Quartararo could thank the ninth signed that day, because without Pecco Bagnaia's mistake that took Jorge Martín to the ground, his debut could have been outside the top ten. And, overnight, the Frenchman took pole position in Mandalika, showing a pace if not better than the rest, indeed more promising before a race with many unknowns, due to interrelated factors: due to the weather, linked to rain and high temperatures; by the behavior of the new asphalt; and by the operation of the tires, related to these two variables. "I haven't felt so good in a long time. More than the pole, I'm happy with the fourth free practice, because I've done many laps in a row with a lot of pace. He knew that if he didn't make mistakes he could be in the front row. We have been making progress with the tire and I am very happy. It has given me a very good feeling and I hope everything works out as well tomorrow. I feel very good and ready for the race”, pointed out the Frenchman, who will have the Ducatis of Jorge Martín and Johann Zarco at his side. The Italian motorcycles, others that left Losail with doubts and that this Saturday were better than expected. Four of his prototypes led Q1, which gave way to the definitive Q2, in which they represented half of the competition (also with Pecco Bagnaia and the World Championship leader, Enea Bastianini). They, along with the author of the pole and the KTM of Brad Binder, fourth, and that usually performs very well in conditions such as those expected on Sunday (the race will be held at 8 in the morning, in peninsular time).

The cross was this time for Honda, with Suzuki with Alex Rins eighth in a good position, and Joan Mir eighteenth in a difficult place on a circuit where overtaking is expected to be difficult, due to the dirt that accumulates off the track. good, and in which the factor of the heat transmitted by the motorcycles located just ahead in the front tire can also have its relevance. We said Honda, because the four will start beyond 15th place: last Takaaki Nakagami, nineteenth Alex Márquez, sixteenth Pol Espargaró, the fastest man in the winter test, and fourteenth Marc Márquez, who completed an official training session with two crashes, luckily for him without physical consequences. "I can't have the same patience tomorrow", he acknowledged in reference to his strategy in Qatar after a day with "unexpected problems", after the good performance of the Japanese bike in February at the premiere in Mandalika. "Coming out on the 14th I can't do it, I have to attack. In those laps where I attack I will take risks. And we'll see if that risk is too much or not. I need to take risks to at least finish in the top ten. And if you want to do it you have to take risks. I'm not talking about fighting for the podium, or for the victory, you have to forget about that starting 14th, but I can't be patient like in Qatar and I have to attack and overtake riders." A plan that will be one of the attractions in the first MotoGP race in Indonesia's return to the calendar.

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