An emotional Miguel Oliveira yesterday held his nerve to win a rain-affected Indonesian MotoGP, and then promised to give the trophy to his daughter.
The Portuguese Red Bull KTM Factory rider finished 2.205 seconds ahead of current world champion Fabio Quartararo, of France, who had started from pole position on his Yamaha. Another Frenchman, Johann Zarco, was a further 3.158 seconds adrift for the Pramac Racing team after the race was reduced to 20 laps from the scheduled 27 because of safety concerns.
The start at the Mandalika International Street Circuit was delayed for 75 minutes by heavy rain, as the sport returned to Indonesia for the first time since 1997.
When it did eventually begin, Quartararo bolted into the first corner comfortably ahead, but by the end of the first lap had been reeled in by Oliveira and Australia’s Jack Miller on a Ducati.
Oliveira spent a couple of laps behind the Australian before realizing he had the pace to stretch away as the sodden track began to dry.
“When I overtook him, I just tried to focus for the next five laps,” said Oliveira, who won his fifth grand prix. “Then I built the gap and I was managing it the whole race, but it was for sure not easy.”
“It’s really emotional,” Oliveira said. “I promised my daughter I would get a trophy from Indonesia, so this one is for you baby.”
Six-time world champion Marc Marquez was earlier ruled out with concussion after a horror morning warm-up crash that catapulted him into the air on turn seven.
The Spaniard’s Honda cartwheeled end-over-end as it disintegrated with Marquez appearing to land heavily on his left arm and hitting his helmet on the ground at about 180kph.
A shaken Marquez got to his feet and gingerly walked away before being taken to a nearby hospital for medical checks.
Team Honda later reported on social media that he was “declared unfit after examination in local hospital and by the circuit staff and doctors.”
Marquez already had a bruising weekend, having two crashes during qualifying on Saturday.
He had been due to start from 14th on the grid after being promoted one spot due to a three-place grid penalty for Yamaha’s Franco Morbidelli.
After the rainstorm, with water pooling on the track and lightning around the circuit, organizers announced the race would be reduced over tire safety fears caused by extreme heat.
The new venue on the resort island of Lombok was partially resurfaced following problems during last month’s testing.
Supplier Michelin brought an old tire casing last raced in 2018 in an effort to combat the conditions, but Honda and Suzuki riders, in particular, complained about a lack of rear grip on the tire, with Marquez appearing to suffer more than most.
Track temperatures reached 43°C during yesterday’s preceding Moto2 race, which was also shortened from 25 to 16 laps.
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