Oliveira wins wet Indonesian MotoGP, Miller fourth

Miguel Oliveira

Red Bull KTM’s Miguel Oliveira has overtaken Jack Miller to win a wet, inaugural MotoGP race at Indonesia’s Mandalika circuit.

Oliveira took the lead from pole-sitter Fabio Quartararo at the end of the first lap, and was not headed again once he re-claimed first position from Miller on Lap 5.

Quartararo dropped as far back as fifth at one point but ended up taking the chequered flag in second position on his Monster Energy Yamaha, halving his deficit to the lead to just over two seconds in the final four laps.

Pramac Racing’s Johann Zarco made a late pass on Miller to grab the final podium position at the Indonesian Grand Prix, with the latter ending up fourth on his factory Ducati Lenovo Team entry.

Enea Bastianini continues to lead the riders’ championship, despite finishing only 11th, by a two-point margin over Red Bull KTM Factory Racing’s Brad Binder.

It is Red Bull KTM which is now on top of the teams’ championship, and the Austrian marque also holds sway in the constructors’ standings.

There was plenty of drama before the race got underway, first when Marc Marquez had a massive highside in the Warm Up which would see the Repsol Honda rider ruled out due to concussion.

Between those developments, the race distance was shortened from 27 laps to 20 for safety reasons relating to heat, only for the start to then be delayed multiple times due to torrential rain.

It finally got underway at 16:15 local time, 75 minutes after originally due, with the 23 remaining riders heading off on wet Michelin tyres.

Quartararo led the field to the first corner from pole, where he was challenged on his outside by a fast-starting Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar).

However, Rins ran wide at the stop and he emerged fourth from the opening corners, behind Oliveira and Miller, before Zarco passed Pramac Ducati team-mate Jorge Martin for fifth at Turn 10.

Quartararo apparently made an error as he exited Turn 17 at the end of the standing lap, with Oliveira storming past as they ran up the main straight and Miller outbraking the 2021 champion at Turn 1.

Miller overtook Oliveira when they next arrived at Turn 10, but those two would break away from the field together over the next handful of laps.

Their cause was helped by Quartararo holding up Rins and Zarco, until he broke into wheelspin when he touched the white line exiting Turn 17 on Lap 3, and handed over those two positions also.

Oliveira was back in the race lead when he went down the inside of Miller on Lap 12 at Turn 5, at which time they were about two seconds up the road from Rins and Zarco.

However, the Portuguese rider on the #88 KTM started to pull away at the front, as Miller dropped back towards the #42 Suzuki.

Oliveira was a second clear at the end of Lap 6, and a full two seconds up on Lap 8, while Rins had halved the deficit to second place.

Zarco then took over from the race leader in racking up a string of fastest laps, and he was into the podium positions when he went past Rins on Lap 11 at Turn 12.

The Pramac rider quickly wiped most of the margin between himself and factory Ducati counterpart Miller, those two nose-to-tail on lap 13.

Meanwhile, Quartararo had got back in front of Rins, and as the Desmosedici riders ahead of him went to battle, he closed in on them.

He pulled off something of a block pass on Zarco on Lap 14 at Turn 16, and his fellow Frenchman was unable to make the re-pass stick when they next arrived at Turn 1.

On Lap 16, Quartararo was past Miller at Turn 12, with Oliveira by then having disappeared to a margin of 4.7s.

‘El Diablo’ then started to pull tenths out of the KTM rider’s advantage, although #88 responded well enough to be just under three seconds up as he started the 20th and final lap of the race.

He would go on to win the first Indonesian Grand Prix in a quarter of a century, with Quartararo finishing second at 2.205s back.

Miller was already under pressure from Zarco when he ran wide at Turn 10 on Lap 17, allowing #5 to go through, and that settled matters as far as third place was concerned.

Miller thus ended up fourth, from the Suzukis of Rins and Mir, then Franco Morbidelli (Monster Energy Yamaha), Brad Binder, Aleix Espargaro (Aprilia Racing), and Moto3-to-MotoGP rookie Darryn Binder (WithU RNF Yamaha).

Round 1 winner Bastianini finished 11th on his Gresini Ducati, ahead of Pol Espargaro (Repsol Honda), Alex Marquez (Castrol LCR Honda), and Luca Marini (Mooney VR46 Ducati).

Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati Lenovo) was only 15th at the chequered flag but it could have been even worse given he so very nearly dropped Bike #63 at Turn 1 on Lap 12, while running ninth.

Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) was first outside the points in 16th, from Raul Fernandez (Tech3 KTM), Fabio Di Giannantonio (Gresini Ducati), Takaaki Nakagami (Idemitsu LCR Honda), and Marco Bezzecchi (Mooney VR46 Ducati).

Remy Gardner (Tech3 KTM) was last finisher in 21st position, with only Martin and Andre Dovizioso failing to make the chequered flag.

Martin crashed out from seventh position when he slipped on a river at Turn 1 on Lap 8, while Dovizioso’s WithU RNF Yamaha apparently had a technical problem.

Round 3 is the Argentina Grand Prix, at Termas de Rio Hondo, on April 1-3 (local time).

Race results: Indonesian MotoGP

Pos Num Rider Nat Team Bike Time/Gap
1 88 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM 33:27.223
2 20 Fabio QUARTARARO FRA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +2.205
3 5 Johann ZARCO FRA Pramac Racing Ducati +3.158
4 43 Jack MILLER AUS Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +5.663
5 42 Alex RINS ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +7.044
6 36 Joan MIR ESP Team SUZUKI ECSTAR Suzuki +7.832
7 21 Franco MORBIDELLI ITA Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Yamaha +21.115
8 33 Brad BINDER RSA Red Bull KTM Factory Racing KTM +32.413
9 41 Aleix ESPARGARO ESP Aprilia Racing Aprilia +32.586
10 40 Darryn BINDER RSA WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha +32.901
11 23 Enea BASTIANINI ITA Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +33.116
12 44 Pol ESPARGARO ESP Repsol Honda Team Honda +33.599
13 73 Alex MARQUEZ ESP LCR Honda CASTROL Honda +33.735
14 10 Luca MARINI ITA Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +34.991
15 63 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA Ducati Lenovo Team Ducati +35.763
16 12 Maverick VIÑALES ESP Aprilia Racing Aprilia +37.397
17 25 Raul FERNANDEZ ESP Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +41.975
18 49 Fabio DI GIANNANTONIO ITA Gresini Racing MotoGP Ducati +47.915
19 30 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN LCR Honda IDEMITSU Honda +49.471
20 72 Marco BEZZECCHI ITA Mooney VR46 Racing Team Ducati +49.473
21 87 Remy GARDNER AUS Tech3 KTM Factory Racing KTM +55.964
DNF 89 Jorge MARTIN ESP Pramac Racing Ducati +13 laps
DNF 04 Andrea DOVIZIOSO ITA WithU Yamaha RNF MotoGP Team Yamaha +14 laps

Race winner: 20 laps

Riders’ championship

Pos Rider Nat Pts
2 Brad BINDER RSA 28
4 Miguel OLIVEIRA POR 25
5 Johann ZARCO FRA 24
8 Alex RINS ESP 20
9 Joan MIR ESP 20
11 Jack MILLER AUS 13
12 Marc MARQUEZ ESP 11
13 Darryn BINDER RSA 6
14 Takaaki NAKAGAMI JPN 6
15 Luca MARINI ITA 5
16 Maverick VIÑALES ESP 4
20 Francesco BAGNAIA ITA 1
24 Jorge MARTIN ESP 0

Join the discussion below in the Speedcafe.com comments section

Please note: Speedcafe.com reserves the right to remove any comment that does not follow the comment policy. For support, contact [email protected]