HIGH EXPECTATION IS IN THE AIR AS MOTOGP MANDALIKA APPROACHES
Marquez, Binders, and more were spotted at the airport before being quickly taken into a short quarantine. These riders are to pre-test the Mandalika Circuit this weekend.
This week sees the arrival of teams and riders from the MotoGP paddock at Lombok's Zainuddin Abdul Majid International Airport in West Nusa Tenggara (NTB). The riders, who arrived in two chartered flights, are prepared to start the prototype racing series' pre-season test at the Mandalika Circuit this weekend, February 11-13.
Several renowned Grand Prix riders, such as Repsol Honda's main rider Marc Marquez, teammate Pol Espargaro, and Marc's younger sibling Alex Marquez (LCR Honda), as well as the Binder siblings, WithU RNF Yamaha's Darryn and Factory KTM's Brad, were spotted at the airport.
The MotoGP riders have just completed their two-day pre-season testing on February 5-6 at Sepang, Malaysia. The newly built Mandalika Circuit is scheduled to host the second race on March 20 after the season opener in Qatar on March 4-6.
The riders were immediately taken by racing officials to a number of hotels where they would undergo quarantine for the next 24 hours.
Priandhi Satria, the Mandalika Grand Prix Association or MGPA president director, explained that the team officials and riders would be permitted to start their activities in the paddock after the quarantine period is completed and will only start their track walk on Thursday.
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The Mandalika COVID-19 protocols
Alexander K. Ginting, the Indonesian COVID-19 task force health management head, revealed that the MotoGP riders and racing officials would not be required to undergo the country's centralized COVID-19 quarantine.
Ginting explained that this policy was taken after the government established a travel bubble system alongside the motorcycle racing series organizers. This policy was stated under the task force's official circular No.5/2022 on health protocols under the bubble system for the MotoGP 2022 event.
Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta once insisted that a MotoGP race will not be held in countries that require the racing paddock members to undergo a lengthy COVID-19 quarantine, prompting the deal on the travel bubble.
"Once they undergo a quarantine bubble, they do not have to undergo the centralized quarantine as the two policies would contradict with each other," said Ginting.
The quarantine bubble stats from the Lombok Zainuddin Abdul Madjid International Airport and those within can only interact with people included in the travel bubble and areas mentioned in the circular.
However, these arrivals were welcomed with sporadic protests among Lombok residents who complained that the event had never involved locals. The protests demanded the organizers to involve local transportation drivers, youths, and tourism villages in the accommodation aspect of the international event.
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