Varied track conditions at Mandalika hinder Marc Márquez and Pol Espargaró in qualifying
Intense rain during the early hours of the morning caused a lack of grip on the asphalt of the Mandalika circuit, leaving the Repsol Honda Team riders without the good feeling they had enjoyed during the preseason test.
Márquez started the day leading the third Free Practice session for the Indonesian Grand Prix, on a wet track that gradually dried out. In the afternoon, after struggling to feel comfortable in FP4, he suffered two small crashes at the same corner, while trying to achieve a time to take him into Q2.
The eight-time World Champion would not make it into the session that defines the top positions on the grid and, with a best time of 1:31.830 thousandths, will take off from 14th.
Espargaró experienced a similar situation in Mandalika. He had a hard time adapting to the track conditions and was also unable to make it into Q2.
After using the fourth Free Practice session to test some technical modifications, he clocked a 1:31.831 that puts him 16th.
Tomorrow’s race, the first MotoGP event held at the track, will take place at 15.00h local time.
“I am more or less OK after the two crashes today, when you are in Q1 you need to take risks and this is what can happen. I can’t be happy about today, all Honda riders are struggling. The only good thing was that we were starting 15th on the clean part of the track but now we will start on the dirty side after Morbidelli’s penalty. It is what it is, tomorrow we have to attack. Our reality is much better than what today showed, even with the different rear. The objective is to try to finish the race.”
“Today was a super tough day, I can’t say that I am anything but disappointed. The different rear tyre we have here is not working with our new bike and it’s causing us to struggle a lot and have more problems. We showed our potential here in the first test with the tyre we will use all year, you can see the impact it has because now other riders who struggled a lot during the test are flying. Tomorrow’s race will be about making it to the end, it’s all we can do. We will be back stronger.”