A MotoGP Race in Indonesia Grows More Likely for 2021

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The chances of Indonesia finally hosting a round of MotoGP have grown over the past few days. On Wednesday, CNN Indonesia reported that a deal has been agreed with Dorna to host MotoGP in the country for three years, starting in 2021.

We have have learned that an announcement of the deal could come within the next few days. 

Abdulbar M. Mansoer, Managing Director of Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), told CNN Indonesia that they have signed a deal with Dorna to host MotoGP.

The deal will see races held on a circuit based on the streets around a private tourist resort of Mandalika Beach, part of the Mandalika Resort Area currently being developed by the ITDC on the island of Lombok. 

The deal has been on the cards for some time, and received a boost last year when Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta visited Bali and met with senior figures in the ITDC before the Sepang round of MotoGP.

Initially, it had been hoped that a circuit would be ready for 2020, but the earthquake which devastated the north of Lombok last year put the project back. The objective is now to host a race in 2021.

The circuit is to be a ‘street circuit’, though this is something of a misnomer. The race will be held on the streets of the resort, which will be laid out with the safety of MotoGP in mind. 

Holding a race in Indonesia has long been a goal for both Dorna and the manufacturers active in MotoGP, as the country is a massive market for both parties.

Indonesia is arguably the most MotoGP-mad country in the world, and also one of the largest markets of scooters and small capacity motorcycles. A growing middle class are also starting to purchase larger capacity motorcycles, Indonesia also being very fast growing markets for Ducati and Triumph. 

The problem facing anyone wanting to organize a race in Indonesia has always been endemic corruption, as well as political and legal difficulties, including dealing with customs.

As Mandalika is in a special economic zone, and just 17km from Lombok International Airport. Holding the race, and housing the paddock staff, inside a private resort, which is itself a special economic zone with special customs arrangements, should address many of these problems.

One possible objection to the location on Lombok is the relative lack of accommodation in the direct area. But the ITDC expects there to be 1200 hotel rooms inside the resort by 2021, and 5,500 five-star hotel rooms in the immediate vicinity. There is also plenty of other accommodation at the other resorts spread around the island, which is a couple of hours from Mandalika.

The arrival of Indonesia, along with the addition of Finland in 2020, would exceed the maximum of 20 races specified in the contract between the teams and Dorna. As a result, a race would have to be dropped.

That will almost certainly be one of the Spanish rounds, with either Valencia or Barcelona the most likely candidates, as those two races have the most problems consistently raising the necessary budget.

However, the idea of removing Valencia as the final race would not be popular with Dorna, as it is so close to the company’s home base in Barcelona.

Source: CNN Indonesia

David Emmett

One of MotoGP's most respected journalists, David Emmett is the proprietor of the esteemed MotoMatters. We are very grateful to republish David's work here on A&R...though dread the day we ever again get in a car with him.