Repsol Honda travels to Indonesia to defend the undefeated…

HONDA has won both motorcycle Grands Prix held at the former Indonesian Grand Prix venue, Sentul. The first Grand Prix held there was the 125cc race in 1996, which also marked the debut of Valentino Rossi. Mick Doohan won the 500cc Grand Prix a few hours after Rossi’s first GP, and the following year Tadayuki Okada won, again for Repsol Honda, before Grand Prix racing left Indonesia behind.

Indonesia’s passion for motorcycle racing has never waned, as evidenced by the almost annual pre-season visits to the country by some of the Japanese factories in the years before Covid prevented such things.

Now, after hosting the decisive WorldSBK final last year and a somewhat problematic MotoGP test last month, Indonesia’s Pertamina Mandalika circuit is ready to host its first Grand Prix.

The riders arriving this weekend to defend Repsol Honda’s record in Indonesia will, of course, be eight-time Grand Prix champion Marc Marquez and 2022 Qatar Grand Prix podium finisher Pol Espargaro.

Espargaro dominated the final day of testing at Mandalika last month, while Fabio Quartararo said afterwards he was concerned about the pace of the four Hondas. Of course, the surface will have changed for the Grand Prix due to the problems experienced during testing, but Honda must arrive in Indonesia confident of a good weekend ahead.

Looking forward to this weekend’s Grand Prix, Pol Espargaro said: “I’m really looking forward to Mandalika, […] We are entering a very good moment, a strong race in Qatar and a good front test in Mandalika, but a lot has changed since then.

Espargaro continued: “They’ve resurfaced the track, which should be a big help, but we have to see what it looks like when we get there.”

Espargaro’s teammate Marc Marquez said: “We made some progress over the weekend in Qatar and it’s clear there’s a lot of potential there.” He added: “Another weekend offers another chance to understand the bike better and get closer to the battles up front again.”

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