Following the opening round of the 2022 MotoGP season in Qatar during which rookies Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez made their MotoGP debuts, Tech3 KTM Factory Racing is now set to return to Mandalika in Indonesia for the second round of the season, just a month after the Official MotoGP Mandalika tests.
Remy Gardner and Raul Fernandez both admitted finding the Losail International Circuit in Doha difficult to adapt with a MotoGP bike for the rookies, left without the usual preseason tests in Qatar this year. Indeed, the MotoGP class travelled to Mandalika for its winter tests instead, in order to find its feet on the brand new Pertamina Mandalika Circuit Indonesia, which will host for the first time a MotoGP race on March 20.
Therefore, the orange duo of rookies will travel to Mandalika with more confidence knowing that they both registered a good amount of laps on the new layout back in February (175 for Remy, 116 for Raul), allowing them to get enough information to have a solid base to work from ahead of the second race of the year. The action will start on Friday, March 18 with Free Practice 1 at 10:50 local time (GMT+8), followed by Free Practice 2 at 15:05. The action will continue on Saturday with Free Practice 3 at 10:05 local time, followed by the final free session at 14:25. The first big moment of the weekend will be at 15:05 when Qualifying starts as both Remy and Raul will look to get a good lap-time in order to position themselves in the best way possible. The lights will go out at 15:00 (GMT+8) on Sunday for the first time at the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit in front of the many Indonesian fans who have been waiting for a long time for their home Grand Prix.
"The first race of the season in Qatar was positive as we finished with a point, which is not so bad for a first race in MotoGP. We still have a lot to work on, so I am looking forward to heading to Mandalika to try to make some improvements from the learnings in Qatar. We already did some tests in Mandalika, so we know the directions we need to take in order to prepare for the race on Sunday. I am excited to go racing in Indonesia for the first time, to meet the fans there, and to get back to see my team."
"The first race in Qatar was difficult for us because we ended far away from the first rider of KTM. I take positives out of it because it means that we can learn from what Brad Binder did in order to improve.
I want to enjoy riding the bike for the second race in Mandalika. I am a rookie and it is important to take each race one by one in order to progress. The goal is to try to close the gap with the KTM riders. We already did some testing in Indonesia last month, so we have a good base to work on, and we will try to get better and prepare in the best way possible for the race on Sunday."
"After all the hype, the excitement and the long wait, the Pertamina Mandalika Circuit is finally ready to welcome the MotoGP class for its first-ever Grand Prix. This is clearly a unique place that will be an amazing destination. I know that there are a lot of fans in Indonesia waiting for us, so I am convinced that the support from the locals will be incredible.
It is the second round of the season, but also the first circuit for which we have been able to do a few laps before. Raul and Remy both enjoyed their test days there last month, they had a good pace and did some great work with their teams.
Both riders had a good opener in Qatar, and they are very motivated by the performance of Brad Binder on his KTM RC16. They are looking forward to getting back on their bikes, and hopefully they will be able to fight for the points."