MotoGP could be set for a test at the new Mandalika street circuit facility in Indonesia later this year ahead of the nation’s first event in March 2022.
Representatives from both MotoGP organisers Dorna Sports as well as the FIM undertook an inspection of the new circuit on Wednesday, the venue on target to hold its first race weekend in November with the World Superbike Championship if construction is completed on time.
Alongside Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta in travelling to the new venue were FIM Grand Prix Safety Officer and ’82 500cc world champion Franco Uncini as well as nine-time MotoGP race winner and current Dorna Race Representative Loris Capirossi.
Indonesia’s MotoGP event was included as a reserve on the ’21 calendar earlier this year subject to homologation, though all parties involved in staging the event agreed back in March that it would be pushed back to early ’22 as a result of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
The current plan though is to allow MotoGP riders and teams to test at Mandalika should the Asian contests-namely Japan, Malaysia and Thailand-go ahead, the test likely fitting in around October or early November.
Erick Thohir-Indonesian State-Owned Enterprises Minister-says he “fully supports” the Indonesian event going ahead in March next year with the countries vaccination programme currently its main focus to “guarantee the safety of both domestic and international visitors.”
Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation President Director Abdulbar M Mansoer thanked Dorna and FIM for conducting the visit to Mandalika, revealing the inspection “went well and met their expectations.”
Ezpeleta concurred with Mansoer that its visit to the circuit was “very successful”, adding that the Indonesian event will be “one of the most important venues” for MotoGP going forward.
“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,” said Ezpeleta.
“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.”
The 4.3km circuit that will feature 17 turns has been under construction since the start of the year, the venue set to be just a part of a widespread push for tourism in the Indonesian coastal resort of Mandalika that will also include several luxury hotels as well as other leisure facilities.
Indonesia last hosted a grand prix motorcycle event back in 1997 at the Sentul International Circuit, the second such contest after the track hosted its first a year prior.
Both premier class encounters were won by Honda riders, Mick Doohan taking the chequered flag in ’96 while Tadayuki Okada managed the feat in ’97, while a young Valentino Rossi scored victory in the latter season’s 125cc contest on his way to the title.