PREVIEW: Mandalika up next for WorldSSP with the target firmly on Ducati…

Wednesday, 1 March 2023 05:17 GMT

WorldSSP makes the trip from Australia to Indonesia for the second round of 2023 with plenty of action to be expected at Mandalika…

A week on from an incredible opening round of 2023, the FIM Supersport World Championship heads to Indonesia and the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit for the Motul Indonesian Round. There were plenty of talking points during the Australian Round and with such a short time between Rounds 1 and 2, it’s highly likely these will continue. The target is on Ducati’s back after their perfect start to the season in Australia, while other manufacturers will look to take victory for an early-season confidence boost after two rounds of 2023.

DUCATI’S PERFECT START: will their run end in Indonesia?

Ducati and Nicolo Bulega ( Racing WorldSSP Team) enjoyed a perfect start to the season with two wins from two in Australia and they will be looking to add to this this year. Last year’s Indonesian Round proved to be tricky for them though, with Bulega only managing sixth and seventh on his first appearances at the circuit. Stefano Manzi (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) and Can Oncu (Kawasaki Puccetti Racing) both ran Bulega close in Race 2 in Australia and both took podium finishes when WorldSSP visited Indonesia last year, with the duo aiming to end Bulega’s perfect start.

PUSHING HARD: outside bets, but one with form

Race 1 winner at Mandalika last year, Niki Tuuli (Dynavolt Triumph), who switched from MV Agusta to Triumph for 2023 but the Street Triple RS was a podium finisher with Manzi at Mandalika, so could that combination result in success in 2023? Last year, Federico Caricasulo (Althea Racing Team) was a podium finisher at Mandalika, and he will be aiming to go one step further to end his WorldSSP win drought, while Raffaele De Rosa (Orelac Racing VerdNatura) took his first WorldSSP win at the venue in 2021, while he was also a podium challenger last year. Could Ducati remain unbeaten in 2023 if Bulega’s run comes to an end?

ON FORM: rookies heading into Indonesia after a strong start

Rookie Marcel Schroetter (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) lies third in the standings after a strong start to his maiden campaign, but he had the advantage of knowing Phillip Island on a WorldSSP machine after making his debut there last year, whereas this will be his first WorldSSP visit to Mandalika. Nicholas Spinelli (VFT Racing Yamaha) enjoyed a podium-scoring start to his campaign with second in Race 1 in Australia and will be looking to carry that on to Mandalika, whereas Jorge Navarro (Ten Kate Racing Yamaha) will also be looking to continue his form through to Indonesia after improving as the Australian Round progressed.

MIXED FORTUNES: could weather help some riders out?

Race 1 in Australia was held in wet conditions and some riders were able to shine. John McPhee (Vince64 by Puccetti Racing) took a debut podium finish as Tarran Mackenzie (PETRONAS MIE MS Racing HONDA Team) was fifth in the wet. A mix of tyre strategies made that race hard to read a lot into, but another who impressed in the difficult conditions was Anupab Sarmoon (Yamaha Thailand Racing Team). With the threat of rain always a possibility in Indonesia, could there be more shocks and surprises in store? Mackenzie’s teammate, Adam Norrodin, and Sarmoon’s teammate, Apiwath Wongthananon, both scored points across the Australian Round but they’ll all tackle Mandalika for the first time in WorldSSP.

LOOKING TO BUILD: surprises set for Indonesia?

Harry Truelove (Dynavolt Triumph) is another who enjoyed a points-scoring Australian Round and he will be hoping to continue this form into his first appearance at the Indonesian Round on a bike that challenged for podiums last season at this venue. Bahattin Sofuoglu (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) will get a first taste of Mandalika this year; can he move up the order after a difficult Australian Round? It’ll also be a first Mandalika start for French rider Valentin Debise (GMT94 Yamaha) as he embarks on a first full WorldSSP campaign since 2012, while Oli Bayliss (D34G Racing) will be looking to build on his two 14th-place finishes at Mandalika from 2022. Glenn van Straalen (EAB Racing Team) has a best result of 13th place in Indonesia and he showed strong pace in Australia with the Dutchman still in search of a first WorldSSP victory.

TO NOTE: housekeeping from WorldSSP

After a crash in Race 1, Adrian Huertas (MTM Kawasaki) was declared unfit with rib and back injuries while Yari Montella (Barni Spark Racing Team) was diagnosed with a broken collarbone and also declared unfit. Andrea Mantovani (Evan Bros. WorldSSP Yamaha Team) had a Race 2 crash and was declared unfit with a sprained thumb. MTM Kawasaki have opted to replace Huertas with Timothy Joseph Cua Alberto, who will make his WorldSSP debut at Mandalika but has experience from the paddock after a campaign in 2018 in STK1000. There will be no substitute for Montella.

Follow all the action from WorldSSP in Indonesia using the WorldSBK VideoPass!