The world’s largest motorcycle racing championship, MotoGP, has finally returned to Indonesia after 25 years of waiting.
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Set to take place at the Mandalika Circuit, Lombok on March 18 to 20, the Indonesian Grand Prix is considered a massive sporting event in the country. Indonesia houses one of the largest numbers of motorcycle racing fans. With the Indonesian GP going underway this weekend, this kickstarts the riders’ first race in Southeast Asia.
The arrival of the riders who will compete was warmly welcomed at the Merdeka Palace, Jakarta, Wednesday. 20 racers met with the President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo for an audience. After that, they carried out a motorcycle parade to the Kempinski Hotel at the HI Roundabout.
The audience cosisted of riders Marc Marquez, Pol Espargaro, Joan Mir, Alex Rins, Pecco Bagnaia, Jack Miller, Enea Bastianini, Fabio di Giannantonio, Johann Zarco, Jorge Martin, Alex Marquez, Taka Nakagami, Andrea Dovizioso, Darryn Binder, Luca Marini, Marco Bezzecchi, Bo Bendsneyder, Gabriel Rodrigo, Mario Aji, and Veda Ega Pratama.
“Many years ago we came here to Indonesia for Honda events, Honda Astra, and it’s something really nice, from the first year I’ve felt like people follow MotoGP a lot and it’s something amazing. They deserve a GP and they’ll have a GP! We’ll race this weekend for the first time for a long time in Indonesia, it will be a big event for the country and for MotoGP,” says Marc Marquez.
“Qatar was a good start. You always want more, to be on the podium and try to win, but Qatar is a circuit where we struggle, it wasn’t a bad start. But here and in the next races, we will see and understand more our situation. We need to start to understand better, to show our speed if we can, but I feel better and better and that’s the most important thing.”
After the parade was over, photos flooded social media with fans commenting on their excitement for lights out this weekend.
“It’s been an incredible event, with all the riders helping us a lot with this promotion, Indonesia is one of the biggest countries in the world for MotoGP. We’re very proud to be received in the palace by the President, it’s something amazing and we appreciate it so much. We’re so happy to do that, the effort made by the race organisers to make this parade happen with all the riders has been something really impressive,” says Carmelo Ezpeleta.
“We knew from many years ago when we were here that MotoGP in Indonesia is very popular. We think it will be a very nice event and something really important for the sport. Hopefully, it will be the first of many; we have a long term agreement to race in Indonesia. It’s a new organisation and a new circuit but everyone has worked together to make it a success.”