On Tuesday, Dorna issued a press release together with the Indonesian Tourism Development Company, or ITDC, that brought an Indonesian round of MotoGP one step closer to reality. If the plans come to fruition, MotoGP could be racing on a specially-adapted street circuit on the island of Lombok as early as 2021.
Carmelo Ezpeleta and his son (and MotoGP Sporting Director) Carlos visited Nusa Dua, in the south of Bali, one of Indonesia's favorite destinations for tourists, as guest of the ITDC. While he was there, they hopped across to Lombok, the next island east of Bali, to visit the Mandalika tourist resort on the south coast of Lombok, which is currently under development.
The plan is for a race to be organized on a circuit using the public roads inside the resort. This is the 'street race' which was rumored much earlier in the year, but about which few details had emerged. Safety concerns are much easier to address, as the layout of the tourist resort will feature wide roads and plenty of open spaces, with plenty of room to create gravel traps and run off.
Dorna have been very keen to organize a race in Indonesia, both because it is a key market for the manufacturers in MotoGP, and because of the enormous and enthusiastic fan base in the country. They have previously been in discussion with the Sentul circuit, just outside the Indonesian capital Jakarta, and also at a new circuit to be built at Palembang, on the island of Sumatra. Those plans fell through, in part over arguments over financing, and in the case of Sentul, because of political disputes with Tommy Suharto, son of the former president, who is directly involved with the circuit.
One problem faced by Dorna in organizing a race in Indonesia was the combination of corruption and bureaucracy. There were fears among those involved in the running of a MotoGP weekend that logistics would be difficult, as getting goods through customs on time, and without paying significant bribes, could prove to be a huge challenge, and make the event much more expensive than it would otherwise be.
Organizing a race at the Mandalika tourist resort would get around a lot of those problems. Mandalika is a so-called Special Economic Tourism Zone, and as such, is exempt from most customs rules for imports into Indonesia. Getting the bikes and equipment into and out of Lombok is much easier, as they are technically never imported into Indonesia, reducing the chances of corruption. Furthermore, organizing a race inside of the Mandalika resort would mean that the entire event is being run by the resort, and as such, would remove much of the corruption caused by local officials. The fact that the event is to be run by the ITDC is also a benefit here, as the government agency has the authority to ensure that the necessary bureaucracy and paperwork is kept to a minimum, as well as the political power to back that up.
Though there is still much to be done before an Indonesian MotoGP race can happen, this project looks the most promising of those which have been proposed so far. The next step would be for a contract to be signed for a race, which would likely be sometime next year, or early 2020 at the latest.
The press release appears below.
The Nusa Dua Bali - Indonesia, November 5th 2018
ITDC (Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation/ PT. Pengembangan Pariwisata Indonesia (Persero)), confirms that between the Australian MotoGP held on Philip Island and the Malaysian Grand Prix, Mr Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports SL, along with the Sporting Director, Mr Carlos Ezpeleta, took a short break to visit the Island of Bali, staying at one of the five-star resorts at the Nusa Dua, a 350-ha integrated Tourism Estate, owned and managed by ITDC.
During this time, Mr Ezpeleta and Mr Abdulbar M. Mansoer, CEO and President Director of ITDC, toured and enjoyed the facilities at the Nusa Dua and also embarked on a day trip to the Island of Lombok to visit the Mandalika, another tourism resort project currently under development by ITDC, situated in the Southern Coast of the Island. Specifically, for this trip, Dorna was visiting a possible location for hosting future Motorbike Race Events within the 1,175-ha integrated tourism estate.
A statement from Mr Abdulbar M. Mansoer reads as follows:
“Mr Carmelo Ezpeleta was primarily at the Nusa Dua for a well-deserved break at the Bali National Golf Club before heading out to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang. It was not his first time to the Island as he visited the Nusa Dua around 2 years prior beforehand. For this visit, during his busy schedule and on route between the two races, he wanted to visit Bali as well as Lombok, where we welcomed him to the Mandalika and presented a potential concept to host future Motorbike Race Events. His visit was brief, but we believe that he sincerely enjoyed his break and of course we would be very happy to welcome him back to Bali and Lombok in the near future.”
PT Pengembangan Pariwisata Indonesia (Persero) or Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is a state-owned enterprise focused in creating new tourism destinations in Indonesia. For over 40 years, ITDC has developed the Nusa Dua as a tourism area in Bali to be one of the world’s most prestigious tourism destinations. Currently in the Nusa Dua, there are 19 starred hotels which offer 5,000+ hotel rooms, shopping centres, a museum, cultural venues, an 18-hole golf course, an international hospital and other tourism amenities. With two international MICE facilities, the Nusa Dua has become host to various international large-scale events, including the UN Climate Change 2007, APEC 2013, Bali Democratic Forum, Miss World 2013 and recently the World Bank IMF Annual Meetings. Consistently managed with an environmentally friendly concept, the Nusa Dua has earned various awards such as Kalpataru of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and certification of Tri Hita Karana of Tri Hita arana Bali Foundation, Indonesia Sustainable Tourism Award 2017 as well as ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Award 2018. At the global level, in 2004, the Nusa Dua obtained the first Certification of Green Globe 21 Asia Pacific in the world for “Community Resort” category awarded by Green Globe Foundation, a global institution supported by the UN.
The Mandalika, an Integrated Tourism Complex is situated in the South of Lombok, Indonesia next to the neighboring Island of Bali. The destination itself is designated a Special Economic Tourism Zone, encompassing a total area of 1.175 ha of prime Real Estate specifically dedicated for the development of an International Tourism Complex. With 16km of Beachfront, the Mandalika is managed under ITDC, which is known for the development and management of the Nusa Dua Tourism Complex in Bali, Indonesia.