The addition of the brand new Mandalika Street Circuit to the MotoGP™ calendar means its set to be a historic year for the sport in Indonesia. The motorcycle racing mad nation has been dreaming of a World Championship visit for years, and in 2022 that is set to become a reality.
Not only will they see the best of the best competing, but they will also have a home favourite to cheer on in the shape of Mario Aji. The Moto3™ rookie has been afforded the opportunity to perform on the biggest of stages thanks to Honda Team Asia.
Graduating from the Asia Talent Cup, Aji made the move to Europe to compete in both the FIM CEV Moto3™ Championship and Red Bull Rookies Cup, where a string of impressive performances saw him handed a debut on the Grand Prix circuit, with the 17-year-old wildcarding at the Emilia Romagna GP in 2021. Injury denied him another appearance at Portimao, but he doesn’t have to wait much longer for that second opportunity on the World Championship stage as he has secured himself a full-time seat for the coming season.
Before he makes his return to the tarmac, you can get to know Indonesia’s next great hope a little better thanks to this Q&A.
We’ve seen you at many official activities these weeks. Does that mean there are many expectations in Indonesia about your debut?
Yes, they appreciate my returning from Spain, where I’ve lived and competed. They are expecting, but also, they are giving me a lot of support. So, I feel optimistic about my debut.
What’s your target for 2022?
First, to learn as much as possible, enjoy every race with my new team, and, most importantly, make progress in every race.
What are your strengths and weaknesses as a rider? What do you feel you need to improve most?
My biggest skill is braking and overtaking on the outside. I need to improve my consistency and control my emotions.
How did you feel when you heard that you would ride in the World Championship in 2022?
I felt proud and super happy because this is my family’s dream. I want to make their dreams come true.
How is your recovery from a femur fracture going?
It’s progressing very well; I feel stronger day by day, even though the bone is not fully connected. So, I need to be a bit patient.
How detrimental to your pre-season preparations will it be?
Because of my injury, I feel a bit lacking in my preparation. Usually, I should be training my body intensively these days, but now I must be focused on recovery. I’m convinced that physically I will be back stronger than before.
3 years ago
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