Indonesia’s motorcycle and scooter market was at around 6.49 million units in 2019, and is the third largest motorcycle market in the world after India and China.
Indonesia also has one of the biggest fan base for the MotoGP World Championships for more than a two decades now. The country has also produced a number of GP riders including Doni Tata Pradita, Andi Farid Izdihar and Dimas Ekky Pratama. Also, the Indonesia Gresini Moto3 Team competing in 2021 is part of a racing academy to scout for young, talented Indonesian riders. The paddock is also full of Indonesian sponsors like KYT, Pertamina, Federal Oil and others.
MotoGP signed a three-year deal to host a race in Indonesia back in 2019, with the race to be held at the purpose-built street track on the island of Lombok planned for 2021 before being rescheduled to March 2022 because of the pandemic. This is still dependant on international travel restrictions being lifted.
MotoGP last raced in Indonesia way back in 1996 and 1997 at the Sentul circuit. Honda taking premier 500cc class victories with Mick Doohan in 1996 and Tadayuki Okada in 1997.
Nine-time grand prix world champion Valentino Rossi won the 125cc race in 1997 on his way to his first world championship and will be the only rider on the current grid to have previously races in Indonesia if he will compete in 2022.
The Mandalika circuit will be MotoGP’s first street circuit since the 1977 Yugoslavian GP. The track is part of a $3 billion tourism project on the island of Lombok, which includes hotels and a golf course. The route of the Mandalika track will be open to the public during non-racing activity, but has been specifically designed to comply with modern safety standards.
Recently, MotoGP officials inspected the track while still undergoing construction. They include by FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer Franco Uncini, Dorna Race Direction Representative Loris Capirossi and Dorna Sports Managing Director Carlos Ezpeleta.
Still on the race calendar is the Motul FIM Superbike World Championship (WSBK), slated for November 14, 2021. A testing for MotoGP teams is also being planned ahead of the 2022 MotoGP season.
The Mandalika circuit is located in the south of Lombok island on a 133.1 hectare plot in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone and is part of a USD 3 billion (RM12.26 billion) state-backed economic development programme with USD 1 billion (RM4.08 billion) allocated to building the circuit.
Total track distance is 4.32 km with 19 corners, and Mandalika circuit is a dual-purpose circuit, with the track being open for use as public roads and highways. The circuit is able to cater for 150,000 spectators, split between the 50,000-plus seat grandstand and other areas.
Indonesia state-owned enterprises minister Erick Thohir said: “I fully support the MotoGP event to be held in March 2022.This is in line with the Indonesian government’s accelerated national vaccination programme.We want to guarantee the safety of both domestic and international visitors.”
Photos from Dorna and MotoGP
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