The Mandalika resort area, currently under construction in Central Lombok district, West Nusa Tenggara, will begin hosting the MotoGP in 2021. (Antara Photo/Ahmad Subaidi)

A Closer Look at the Brand-New Mandalika MotoGP Circuit in Lombok

BY :IMAN RAHMAN CAHYADI

APRIL 09, 2019

Jakarta. It was confirmed earlier this year that Grand Prix motorcycle racing will return to Indonesia after an absence of more than two decades. 

And a brand-new street circuit in the heart of a scenic resort area in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara, will be hosting the racers and MotoGP enthusiasts. Built inside a 105.4-hectare complex, the Mandalika street circuit will start hosting MotoGP races in 2021. Besides the circuit, the complex will have 11 hotels with a combined total of around 1,900 rooms, a convention and exhibition building, hospital and shopping mall.

The 4.32-kilometer racetrack will be equipped with facilities such a paddock area with 40 garages, 50,000 grandstand seats, a standing area for 138,000 spectators and hospitality suites that can accommodate up to 7,700 people.

However, the state-owned Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) announced that the facilities are only temporary.

"Since it is a street circuit, the facilities are temporary; they will be installed and used only before races. Besides being close to a white, sandy beach, the circuit is surrounded by beautiful green hills," the ITDC wrote on its Instagram page.

The Mandalika circuit is currently undergoing homologation, an approval process all circuits must complete to ensure they meet the standards set by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM).

Parties involved in the process are the ITDC, Bahrain-based racetrack consultant Mrk1 Consulting and French construction firm Vinci Construction Grands Projets, which invested in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone.

''Homologation is the final preparation stage for construction before the circuit is built," said Abdulbar M. Mansoer, managing director of the ITDC.

Mandalika will be the first street circuit in MotoGP history. Construction is set to begin in October this year.

Mandalika's Charm

Located near the vital tourist hubs of Bali and Lombok, Mandalika's success in securing the rights to host a MotoGP race comes as no surprise.

According to the National Council for Special Economic Zones, Mandalika was designated a special economic zone through a 2014 government regulation.

Spread out over more than 1,000 hectares of land facing the Indian Ocean, the Mandalika Special Economic Zone is expected to boost West Nusa Tenggara's tourism industry.

Mandalika, which is located on a lowland area, boasts long and flat white sandy beaches with good waves for surfing. Although vegetation is relatively sparse, there are mangrove patches in several areas that protect the coast from erosion.

Many say that it could potentially be "New Bali."

The Indonesian government has spent Rp 250 billion ($18 million) on basic infrastructure to develop the area. This includes direct road access to Mandalika from Lombok International Airport, an extension of the airport runway and construction of the street circuit.

President Joko "Jokowi" Widodo had said the Mandalika circuit would be one of the most beautiful in the world due to its proximity to the beach.

"With this unique and beautiful circuit, Indonesia will benefit from two things. Sports and tourism. Indonesia's name as a tourism destination will increasingly become known to the world," Jokowi said at the Presidential Palace in Bogor, West Java, last month.

As a potential ecotourism destination blessed with stunning views, Mandalika is expected to attract up to 2 million foreign visitors a year.

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