Indonesia hopes to return to the MotoGP calendar by 2022 with a new track, the Mandalika International Street Circuit.
Representatives from the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and Dorna Sports (organizer of MotoGP) flew to the island of Lombok in Indonesia to inspect the track last week. Present at the inspection were FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer, Franco Uncini; Dorna Race Direction Representative, Loris Capirossi; and Dorna Sports Managing Director, Carlos Ezpeleta, in order to assess the progress made on the site.
Meeting them were President Director of PT Pengembangan Pariwisata Indonesia (Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation), Abdulbar M. Mansoer (ITDC); and Chief Executive Officer of Mandalika Grand Prix Association (MGPA), Ricky Baheramsjah.
The inspection was made to ensure that the proper safety standards implemented in time for it’s planned March 2022 MotoGP debut.
Initially, Mandalika International Street Circuit was slated to host the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship on the 14th of November 2021. However, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all parties involved agreed to hold the first FIM MotoGP World Championship Grand Prix at the track in the first part of the 2022 season, tentatively in March.
The Mandalika circuit is located in the south of Lombok island on a 133.1 hectare plot in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone. The circuit is part of a USD 3 billion (RM12.26 billion) state-backed economic development program with USD 1 billion (RM4.08 billion) allocated to building the circuit.
The track runs clockwise, is 4.32-km long, and boasts of 19 corners. True to its street circuit name, Mandalika is a dual-purpose circuit, with the track being open for use as a public road and highway. The circuit can accommodate 150,000 spectators, split between the 50,000-plus seat grandstand and other areas.
Mandalika’s 2022 debut marks 25 years since Indonesia last hosted a MotoGP round. The previous opportunity was at Sentul Circuit outside of Jakarta in 1997.
Lombok is situated to the east of Bali island. It is an island roughly the size of Bohol. And while Bali is the more popular tourist destination, it is hoped the street circuit will put the island of Lombok on the map. There could be no better host for a MotoGP return as the island is dotted with small tracks that host community races and is home to a large grassroots racing community.
“We thank the FIM and Dorna for coming and conducting the technical visit which went well and met their expectations,” said Abdulbar M. Mansoer, President Director of ITDC. “By knowing the firm month for MotoGP event, we are assured of focusing on finishing the Mandalika International Street Circuit development project, while also maximizing the value that this great sporting event has to offer.”
"The visit to Lombok was very successful and we can confirm that the Mandalika International Street Circuit will be one of the most important venues of the calendar in the future,” Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO. “We also know that the fans from Indonesia will attend massively and the GPs will become one of the most iconic ones of the whole season. Indonesia is a key market, not only for Dorna but for all the stakeholders of the Championship."
That's certainly good news for Indonesia. Meanwhile, Pinoys are still waiting for a chance to host a MotoGP round. Our best bet for that still remains to be an upcoming circuit in Pampanga.