As per last year’s WSBK race at the new Pertamina Mandalika Street Circuit in Indonesia, yesterday’s MotoGP race was delayed, delayed and delayed again, thanks to biblical levels of rainfall. I suppose that’s what happens when you build a race track next to a rain forest. Anyway, a shortened 20-lap race finally got underway in very wet conditions, but it was no less thrilling for it. The boys at the front were pushing hard to lap within eight seconds of their dry qualifying times, frighteningly fast in those conditions. With Marc Marquez out of the race (thanks to a monster high-side in warmup) and the championship leader (Enea Bastianini) not even managing a top ten, the championship has closed right up; it’s shaping up to be a good season.
1st Miguel Oliveira 10/10
Oliveira put on a bit of a masterclass in the rain yesterday. Apart from a last minute push from Quartararo at the end of the race (which was too little too late, anyway), nobody could hold a candle to him. It just goes to show that you can never count Miguel Oliveira out for the win, whatever the conditions. He was fast all weekend and didn’t put a wheel wrong all race, so it’s got to be 10/10 for the race-winning, KTM-riding Portuguese man. Obrigado.
2nd Fabio Quartararo 9/10
Although it was clear by the end of lap one that Yamaha and Quartararo had solved their wet-weather woes (when he took and early and reasonably convincing lead) I did think it might have been short lived, when after a few laps he’d dropped to fifth and looked like he was only going backwards. But he didn’t, and I can imagine a podium finish, in those conditions would feel like a win to him; he hasn’t been able to make the front end of that Yamaha work in the wet for at least two years. And now he can. That’s very bad news for the rest of the field. And very good news for the reigning world champ
3rd Johann Zarco 7/10
The way Zarco got faster and faster and crept up on Rins, and then Miller made me think he might have had something special in the bag; something that he could have dished out to Oliveira, who was busy leading the race. But that wasn’t to be, especially after spending five laps swapping positions with Miller. He fought a good fight and came out on top of that particular scrap, but it did mean FQ20 caught and passed them both, so he wasn’t any better off for it really. Still a good effort for a satellite rider, though.
4th Jack Miller 7/10
We all know how good Jack Miller is on a MotoGP bike in the wet, so when he (briefly) took the lead, I don’t suppose I’m the only one that thought he was going to take off and leave the rest of the field for dead, but unfortunately fourth was as good as he could manage in Indonesia. He get’s extra points for putting up such a good fight against Johann Zarco, but also has them taken away for getting beaten by a Satellite Ducati, on his factory machine.
5th Alex Rins 7/10
Rinnsy might be a little bit gutted with fifth after spending quite a bit of the race in third, but he did have a massive slide that ought to have seen him sat on his arse (again); so you could argue that it was a bit of a bonus that he finished the race at all. And it’s a couple of places higher than he qualified, so there’s always that to smile about.
6th Joan Mir 8/10
His teammate Joan Mir though, made up twelve places over the course of the race. From eighteenth on the grid, Mir was in tenth by the end of lap one, and chipped away all race to take a fairly impressive (all things considered) sixth place finish. He might be seventh in the championship standings, but he’s still within 10 points of the lead. And it’s a long championship.
7th Franco Morbidelli 6/10
Morbz made quite a few places up on the first lap too, going from fifteenth on the grid, to sixth at the end of the first lap. That was as good as it got though. Like Fabio, Franco will be over the moon that Yamaha have sorted out whatever was causing the issues with the M1 in the wet. It’s time we saw him back on the podium though. When will the Franco Morbidelli of 2020 be back?
8th Brad Binder 4/10
Like his teammate Oliveira, BB is another KTM rider that seems to be able to pull a win out of nowhere – especially in crap conditions. And from fourth on the grid, and off the back of a podium at the last round, I bet he was pretty confident. So he would have been really pissed off when he went backwards off the start, and even more pissed off when his younger brother, and MotoGP rookie, Darryn overtook him with a few laps to go in Indonesia. He might have pulled his finger out, and got to the front of the group, but I bet he wasn’t smiling very much after the race.
9th Aleix Espargaro 5/10
It wasn’t looking too good for ‘Spaggers yesterday, but he used his years of experience to help him pick off a few greener kids and salvage a top-ten. There were a couple of hard moves (firm but fair, I think), but that’s what you’ve got to do, I suppose. Still only an average result for a Factory rider though… even if it is only the Aprilia factory.
10th Darryn Binder 10/10
Despite the minging conditions, there were actually only two DNFs (Martin who crashed and Dovi who broke down), so I won’t have it that Darryn Binder was gifted his top-ten finish, in any way. It took him a full race to get there (he qualified 23rd and was only 21st buy the end of the first lap), but he did it. I’d have loved to see the look on his face when he overtook his big brother, Brad. In fact, I’d have loved to have seen the look on Brad’s face too. To put up a proper fight with the factory boys, in your first year in MotoGP, after coming straight from Moto3 is seriously impressive. In fact, for me, it was the most impressive ride of the weekend. Top job, Daz.