It goes without saying that racing is indeed one of the world’s favorite sports. When it comes to the level of the MotoGP, we’re not just talking about individual racers, or even manufacturers. A top spot at the MotoGP is indeed something to be proud of on a national level. So, too, is the opportunity to host a round of the Grand Prix. This is exactly what Indonesia is doing this coming March 18 to 20, at its newly inaugurated Mandalika circuit.
In February, the MotoGP flew over to Pertamina Mandalika circuit to test the facilities. While it was generally a positive experience, MotoGP officials required portions of the asphalt to be resurfaced, as well as a few refinements conducted to the racing circuit’s facilities. As it would turn out, Indonesia’s commitment to hosting an epic MotoGP round is stronger than expected, as even the president himself has gotten involved in the renovations.
According to Speedweek, Joko Widodo, the president of Indonesia, even halted the production of a runway at Jakarta Airport to prioritize resurfacing the Mandalika circuit. The best of the best when it comes to construction equipment and personnel were all moved to the Mandalika circuit in order to replace a mile-long stretch of tarmac before the deadline which was initially set on March 11.
Lombok, considered by many as a holiday island in Indonesia, is adorned by a picturesque tropical landscape. The fanfare towards the Grand Prix in Indonesia is not unknown, with the MotoGP playing a pivotal role in the country’s motorcycle scene. Races during the 90s were indeed held at the Sentul Circuit, however, this marks the first time the MotoGP is returning to Indonesia in the modern era. Unsurprisingly, the return of MotoGP to the country has drastically raised morale in the motorcycling community, so much so that the grandstands during the testing held in February were packed—something that doesn’t usually happen in other parts of the world.
Now, with the construction and resurfacing of the circuit complete, General Manager of RMI, the company in charge of operating the circuit, Simon Gardini, expressed excitement towards the upcoming MotoGP round. “The enthusiasm around the island is fantastic. Although there are usually hardly any spectators at a MotoGP test, there were many VIPs who wanted to admire the bikes. All the business people were excited four weeks before the GP event, everyone wanted to talk to me about it.” Needles to say, the upcoming Indonesian round of the MotoGP has been, and certainly will be a point of national pride for Indonesia.