MotoGP: Oliveira roars to a magical wet weather win in Indonesia

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Miguel Oliveira (KTM Factory Racing) of Portugual mastered the wet conditions to claim victory in the MotoGP Grand Prix of Indonesia, registering his first victory since 2021 Catalan GP. He finished ahead of reigning World Champion Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) of France in a dramatic race on Sunday.

The Portuguese rider didn’t put a foot wrong in Indonesia as Yamaha and Ducati picked up podium spots as Frenchman Johann Zarco (Pramac Racing) took third place. Former champion Marc Marquez (Honda) was forced to miss the race due to a concussion sustained in his huge crash during warm-up for the main race.

After the start of the race was delayed by over an hour due to heavy rainfall in Lombok for the first time in 25 years, Quartararo got an outstanding launch from pole position and comfortably collected the holeshot. Oliveira made a lightning start from P7 to grab P2, and Jack Miller (Ducati) was swiftly up to P3 from P6 on the grid.

At the start of Lap 2, both Oliveira and Miller passed Quartararo. Miller then picked off Oliveira for the race lead, as the top two started to break clear of third-place Quartararo, who had Alex Rins (Suzuki Ecstar), compatriot Zarco and a rapid starting Joan Mir (Suzuki Ecstar) for company.

Rins and Zarco got the better of Quartararo, but they faced a 2.4s gap to Miller and Oliveira. The latter carved his way past the Ducati of Miller at Turn 12 on Lap 6 to retake the lead, with Francesco Bagnaia (Ducati) somehow staying on his GP22 after a huge moment going into Turn 1.

The Italian was down to P12 behind Pol Espargaro (Honda) and Brad Binder (KTM Factory Racing), for P7, Jorge Martin (Pramac Racing) caught one of the puddles at Turn 1, and unlike Ducati counterpart Bagnaia, there was no saving a crash for Martin.

Meanwhile, Oliveira had stretched his lead to 1.6s. Miller was second, Rins third, Zarco fourth, and Quartararo fifth with 12 laps to go.

At half race distance, Zarco was the quickest rider on track. A quality move followed on Rins at Turn 12 for P3, a’d Miller wasn’t far up the road. Oliveira, however, was. His advantage was 3.5s heading into the second half of the race. Zarco was looking desperate to pass Miller, while just behind, Quartararo had found some great rhythm. El Diablo was back into P3 with five laps to go, as he and fellow Frenchman Zarco scrapped away.

Quartararo was the fastest rider on track and was back up to second on Lap 16 of 20. Zarco, eventually, followed the Yamaha man through to get the better of Miller, and with three laps to go, was a special comeback from Quartararo on the cards? The gap was slashed by a second on ‘ap 17, Oliveira’s lead was down to 3.4s – game on?

Oliveira responded though. The gap came down, but only by a couple of tenths. At the start of the last lap, it was 2.8s, so barring an error, Oliveira just needed to bring it home. Quartararo had a 0.9s buffer to Zarco, who in turn had 2.3s in hand over Miller.

The last lap was completed without worry for Oliveira. An absolutely stunning performance at a rain-drenched Pertamina Mandalika Circuit to claim victory for the first time since the 2021 Catalan GP. Quartararo picked up a phenomenal P2 that will feel like a win for the Frenchman, and it’s a return to the rostrum for the first time since Barcelona 2021 for Zarco in P3.

Oliveira goes home with the race-winning trophy, Bastianini remains the title leader, and there’s only 10 points between the top nine heading to Argentina for Round 3.

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