It is no secret that Indonesia holds fond memories for Yamaha, after wrapping up the WorldSBK “Triple Crown” and Rookie of the Year in 2021, Razgatlıoğlu and Locatelli’s combined results in 2022 signalled the best weekend for the team since Yamaha’s return to WorldSBK in 2016.
Razgatlıoğlu simply dominated the weekend – winning all three races and setting an incredible circuit-record pole position on his Yamaha R1 WorldSBK that was 1.052s clear of his next closest rival. Teammate Locatelli too enjoyed a strong weekend with his first front row start in WorldSBK (P3) followed by a podium in the Superpole Race and two fourth position finishes in the feature races, which were all held in dry conditions.
By contrast, in 2021 the WorldSBK field experienced Mandalika in full wet conditions – and a quirk of the track was that in the wet, this particular asphalt construction enabled the riders to access incredible grip because water drains through very quickly. However in 2022, the track was resurfaced and a revised schedule introduced to avoid the heavy tropical monsoon rains that temporarily flood the track and severely limit visibility – leaving the new construction untested.
After speaking with local track staff last year about the upgraded asphalt, Razgatlıoğlu’s Crew Chief Phil Marron says that the surface should behave in a similar way to Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli – however the key difference is that track temperature in Indonesia stays the same in the wet, rather than dropping by around 10 degrees Celsius like in Italy, so the riders can still expect similar grip levels to 2021.
The first opportunity to assess track conditions this year will come tomorrow morning at 10:00 local time (UTC+8) with the first 45-minute Free Practice 1, followed naturally by Free Practice 2 taking place from 13:00.