If anyone needed any further proof that Indonesia is important to the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, the fact the Repsol Honda team chose Bali as the location to launch their 2015 MotoGP project should remove any doubt.
In front of a crowd consisting of Indonesian media, regional sales teams, Honda dealers, and just a single journalist from the European media (and a very smart one at that), Repsol Honda unveiled their 2015 livery, and Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa met fans and engaged in a couple of photo-ops.
A few days later, in Malaysia, Yamaha presented their 2015 racing program in front of a mass meeting of their Southeast Asian network, dealers, and business partners flown in from Indonesia and neighboring countries.
The Movistar Yamaha team had already been launched in Madrid – the Movistar TV millions ensured the location of that launch – but Yamaha took the time to introduce the three teams racing Yamahas in MotoGP, as well as present their activities in Asia.
Frankly, the presence of the Movistar Yamaha, Tech 3 and Forward Yamaha teams were more of a crowd pleaser than actually imparting any new information.
But if Indonesia is so important to the manufacturers, and to MotoGP, why is there not a race there? Over the course of the MotoGP test at Sepang, I had a few conversations with people on the subject.
On the record, the story was always the same: we need a suitable track, and as soon as one exists we will be happy to go there. Off the record, however, they were much less optimistic.