Indonesia is to get a round of MotoGP and WorldSBK from 2021. Confirmation of the news came faster than we expected, as Dorna issued two press releases on Saturday, announcing that both World Championship series it manages will race at the new circuit to be built at Mandalika in Lombok.
That MotoGP would race there is not a surprise, but that WorldSBK would also visit had not been much talked about.
But, this follows the same pattern as the Chang International Circuit in Buriram, Thailand, where WorldSBK was sent to the track first as a trial run, before MotoGP went to race there.
The agreement announced by Dorna envisages both series going in the same year, starting in 2021.
The races are to be held at a circuit to be built inside a giant tourist resort on the south coast of the island of Lombok. The track will run on what are ostensibly the public roads inside the resort, but the roads will be laid out with a circuit in mind, making this nothing like traditional street circuits like Macau or the Isle of Man.
Runoff should not be an issue, and the rest of the circuit facilities are due to be built inside the resort. The Mandalika resort is a project of the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation, which is looking to expand tourism to Lombok, as tourism on Bali is starting to approach its natural limits.
Where the Indonesian races would fit in the calendar is hard to say. The obvious spot for the WorldSBK round would be between Phillip Island and Thailand, but this might end up reducing the crowds for those events.
A similar argument could be made for MotoGP, where the easy answer would be to schedule Indonesia in the middle of the flyaways. That would not be popular with either Thailand or Sepang, which have a lot of fans who travel from Indonesia.
What’s more, a lot of Australian fans travel to Sepang as well, and they may be tempted to go to Indonesia instead.
The addition of Indonesia is likely to see the schedules of both series reconfigured. Indonesia could end up near the start of the MotoGP season, and near the end of the WorldSBK season, as that would make more sense both in terms of weather and in terms of climate.
The MotoGP schedule will have to change in 2020 when the Kymiring, the new circuit being built in Finland, joins the calendar.