Two Toasty MXGP Rounds in Indonesia

Returning to Lombok for a second consecutive year, the riders faced the challenge of back-to-back rounds at the same venue. The purpose-built Selaparang Track is best described as soft and loamy, but it had a rock-hard and choppy base, making it slick and edgy. The layout was fast and flowing with big jumps, and despite hosting its first Grand Prix last year in 2023, it still presented a challenge for the riders because the direction of the track was reversed for the second event, and it is totally unlike anything they can find in Europe.

The riders not only had to contend with Indonesia’s unique dirt but also had to adapt to its tropical climate. The intense heat and humidity were exacerbated by the fact that the man-made circuit was built on the asphalt of an old airfield, which meant there were no trees or shade and there was a lot of heat bouncing off the runway.

Taking the task of racing in such tough conditions in his stride, Monster Energy’s Yamaha Factory MXGP’s Calvin Vlaanderen impressed with back-to-back podium finishes, while Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MX2’s new recruit Karlis Reisulis made a solid debut as a factory rider.

Reflecting on the performances of Yamaha’s Factory MXGP & MX2 riders in Indonesia, Yamaha Motor Europe’s Off-Road Racing Manager Alexandre Kowalski shared his thoughts:

“The Indonesian rounds were super positive for us. We know Indonesia is a strong market for Yamaha, and we always enjoy racing in front of the Indonesian fans. This year, after the cancellation of Sumbawa, Lombok hosted two back-to-back rounds, presenting significant track changes with each round running in opposite directions. Feedback from the riders indicated that the track for the second GP in Lombok, which was run in reverse compared to the first round, flowed better and suited the MXGP riders more. Improved watering also addressed the issue of excessive water on the track during the first round. Overall, the biggest challenge at the Indonesian Grand Prix rounds was the heat and humidity, conditions we rarely face in Europe where most of the Motocross World Championship takes place.”

“Calvin’s performance in Indonesia has been a huge confidence booster. Securing two podiums in a row is significant, not only for him but for Yamaha, too. We are proud of what he achieved at these two rounds. He deserves all the success because he works very hard and is very focused. His physical condition and fitness are at peak levels, which was highlighted in the extreme heat and humidity of Indonesia. Racing in such conditions is a battle of survival; if you miss anything in terms of your preparation, you cannot hide it here. Calvin proved his exceptional fitness and speed this weekend.

The top three in the championship, Tim Gajser, Jorge Prado and Jeffrey Herlings, started the season on another level, but Calvin has impressively closed the gap in terms of race pace. His pass on Prado in Race One on Sunday was impressive and it proved he is right there with them. I felt he had the speed to finish better than third this weekend, but he played it safe to secure the podium. These two GPs were important for his confidence, and now he is truly in the game. With the championship past halfway, every point is vital. We are confident the upcoming GPs will be good for him, especially considering his previous success in Loket, where he won a race last year. With his natural speed in the sand, he will be a strong contender in Lommel as well.

Andrea Bonacorsi also had a good trip to Indonesia. He finished fifth in his first race in Lombok after passing many strong riders. Despite facing challenges, including recovering from a fall in the second race, he showed great potential. We must not forget that he has never been to Indonesia before, so everything was new for him. It’s not the easiest to adapt to these conditions, but he finished in the top ten, which was a great achievement for a rider that is new to the 450 and overseas races.”

“In MX2, Karlis Reisulis made an impressive debut with the Factory team. His progress between the GPs in Lombok was remarkable. We advised him to push hard to gauge his speed and potential, and he did that. He managed to keep up with the front runners for the first 15-20 minutes before fading. Between the two rounds, he showed significant improvement, lasting almost the full 30 minutes in eighth place at the most recent round. His determination and effort was clear. He gave everything he had, and this is what we like to see.

For Rick Elzinga, the past two weekends have been tough. Despite challenges like a muddy and slippery track at the first one, he improved by the second GP. A technical issue in the first race at the MXGP of Lombok hindered his performance, but he bounced back in the second race, finishing seventh. It looked like his fire was back in the final race of the back-to-back leg, which was nice for him to finish the trip on a positive note.”

“Now, we will return to Europe, where the riders will spend the next few days focusing on recovery. With eight rounds remaining in the 2024 season, there is still a lot to play for. Upcoming challenges include the hard-pack track in Loket, Czech Republic, and the deep sand of Lommel, Belgium. Both teams and all four riders will be testing and refining setups for these contrasting conditions over the next ten days, and after a weekend off, we look forward to seeing them back of the gate, fresh and ready to fight.”

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