The inaugural MXGP of Asia is underway on a spectacular circuit just thirty minutes from the city of Semarang. It has actually been a rather busy morning beneath the beating sun, where temperatures are expected to soar and reach forty degrees, so here are some notes from the facility.
– A lot of riders have praised the all-new circuit here at Semarang, but commented that it is much slicker than it actually looks. Sawdust has been mixed into the soil in an attempt to ensure that it will stay soft and hold moisture. Underneath that it is quite slick though, especially on the faces of jumps, which has caught a handful of riders out. It has also been mentioned that it is important to stay on your toes around the entire Semarang track, especially with the enormous jumps.
– There have been no complaints about the number of jumps on this track, which is positive, but most are aware that making a mistake on one of them would be absolutely disastrous. The harsh landings could also cause some broken spokes. There is one jump in particular, the second triple that runs through the middle, that is giving the MX2 riders some trouble. There was no one in that class who managed to clear it consistently, so most opted to double and then single. Perhaps someone will pull the pin in the race?
– Tommy Searle got off to a superb start at the Grand Prix of Asia, as he logged the second-fastest time in free practice for the second time this year. Searle could not enjoy that for too long though, as he was later docked ten positions for ignoring a waved yellow flag. The session means nothing in the grand scheme of things, fortunately, so it is not like this penalty will impact him at all. It is just worth noting that the results are not a true representation of how well he rode.
– In more British news, Shaun Simpson has hopped on a flight and is heading home to Belgium. The Wilvo Yamaha MXGP rider picked up an infection at the previous event in Indonesia and, despite the fact that he was on antibiotics all week, his condition has not improved. The team then decided that it is best to focus on the future and attempt to return in the Czech Republic.
– Valentin Guillod had a close call in the first practice session; he lost grip on the face of a jump and was then ejected. Guillod did not sustain any injuries in the fall, but has been left battered and bruised and that may have an impact on the way that he performs at the Grand Prix of Asia. Guillod returned to log the seventeen-quickest time in time practice.
– Brent Van Doninck has had a turbulent season with a lot of upheaval, but nothing compares to the news that he received recently. MX Vice were saddened to hear that his grandfather, who was always at the races and supporting the young Belgian, passed away last night. Dealing with such tragic news must be tough whilst on the other side of the world, let alone attempting to focus on racing.
Words: Lewis Phillips | Lead Image: Sean Ogden