The construction of Indonesia’s Mandalika International Street Circuit is gearing up to be completed mid-way through 2021, with a maiden MotoGP event potentially set to take place soon afterwards.
The 4.3km, 17 corner street circuit-the first of its kind to ever appear on a motorcycle grand prix racing schedule-will be located on the Indonesian island of Lombok, and if completed on schedule could host its first race to a sea of 150,000 fans.
The track is set to be a part of a large scale push for tourism in the area, with “numerous luxury hotels” and other “leisure facilities” set to be built nearby.
Mark Hughes-interim COO of the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC)-reckons the facilities 150,000 capacity will be filled should spectators be allowed back when the circuit hosts its first event, citing the fact that 27% of MotoGP’s global fanbase originates from Indonesia as reason to be optimistic.
Dorna recently released a 20-round provisional ’21 calendar for the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 world championships, with the Indonesian event being included for the first time since ’97, though currently as a reserve alongside Portuguese and Russian events at the Algarve International Circuit and the recently-completed Igora Drive circuit respectively.
One round of the new calendar-set between the Finnish and Austrian GP’s between early July and the beginning of August-is currently marked as TBD, thought to be held back for the Indonesian race subject to circuit homologation once completed.
The ITDC is working with Geobrugg to complete the circuit, the Swiss company having shipped 1,550 mobile debris fence panels specifically designed to help keep riders safe in the event of a crash-set to arrive at the site in January- in order to create MotoGP’s first ever street circuit.
The building process will be accelerated as Geobrugg will also send 31 moulds that can be used to make the concrete blocks needed at each corner, shortening the construction time significantly as this removes the need for any out-sourcing.
MotoGP competition heading to Indonesia is only the tip of the iceberg as far as Hughes is concerned, with the Mandalika track developed to meet both FIM Class A as well as FIA Grade 1 level-meaning it could well host a Formula 1 GP sometime in the future.
“MotoGP is our priority at the moment but we have our eye on the long term,” said Hughes.
“We will have car racing at some point and it makes sense to use an FIA-endorsed product like the Geobrugg fences so that we are ready for the pinnacle of car racing if required.”
Hughes revealed that the Mandalika circuit will be “one of the fastest tracks on the calendar”, having spoken with “a number of riders” during the track layout design process.
“It’s an incredibly fast track,” continued Hughes.
“We spoke with a number of riders through the different design iterations and everybody identified it as being one of the fastest tracks on the calendar.”
Honda won both Indonesian events staged across the ’96 and ’97 seasons, then at the Sentul International Circuit with Tadayuki Okada and five-time 500cc world champion Mick Doohan sharing the spoils aboard their NSR500 machnes.
Valentino Rossi will be the only active grand prix racer to have previosuly taken part in an Indonesian GP, the veteran Italian having scored a victory at the venue in ’97 astride a lightweight class Aprilia on his way to that season’s 125cc world championship.