Following a tedious week of travel, the Grand Prix contingent have arrived in Indonesia for the first of two FIM Motocross World Championship rounds. Pangkal Pinang, the circuit that hosted the event last season, is the first stop and one that desperately needs to get rid of its bad reputation. It seems that everything is in place for that to happen this weekend.
There were torrential downpours last season, which has been discussed at length, but that could occur at any location. The first event at Afyonkarahisar in Turkey could also turn out to be a mudder, but that does not mean that it should be placed on a shelf and not considered again. The point is that although the inaugural event at Pangkal Pinang did not meet expectations, it is only right that it has been given another chance. Youthstream have also done all that they can to ensure that this edition will be a prosperous one. The first step was, of course, moving it to a later date and out of the rainy season.
There is still a threat of rain this weekend, although it seems that is just down to poor luck. Reports from the locals suggest that there has not actually been much rain at all over the last month, so moving the event to the summer was clearly a positive step, but there have been thunderstorms this week. Based on the weather forecast for this weekend, it seems that Saturday will be okay and then some heavy rain could fall on Sunday. It is worth noting that at the time of writing, midday on Friday, a huge storm is battering the facility. It has not stopped at all in the last four or five hours.
The track crew are braced for that though, as the track has been raised and the bog section has also been removed. Those two points alone should make a huge difference. There was a reason why that particular straight was so bad last year, as the land that it covered is like a swamp. It just never drys up. Some of the other parts of the track, most notably the area by the finish, actually became quite rideable during the first motos last year. There is no doubt that is the greatest improvement of them all and will make a significant difference during the races on Sunday.
Everything is just much more complete, which in turn means that the promoters are ready to tackle the elements. There was some difficulty preparing the track last season, hence why pit lane and some other things were not up to their usual standard, but that is certainly not the case this time around. The road heading into the circuit is currently being painted in black and white, to resemble a chequered flag. What does that have to do with the success of the Grand Prix of Indonesia? Nothing at all, but those finer details are never communicated with the fans on the other side of the world.
With the rain still falling, it is likely that a wet-weather schedule will be put into place this weekend. Stay tuned to MX Vice for more on that though, as all of the news will be added to the MXGP channel.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Sean Ogden