MotoGP: Indonesia's Mandalika circuit developers aim for mid-2021 race
Construction work on Indonesia's Mandalika street circuit has been ramped up in the hope of the venue hosting its first MotoGP race in the middle of next year.
The track, which will be MotoGP's first-ever street circuit, is currently on the reserve list on the provisional 2021 calendar. Other reserve circuits include Portimao and the Igora Drive Circuit in Russia.
As well as being the first street circuit, it's also aiming to be the biggest event of the season. Circuit representatives say that the track can hold 150,000 spectators, with Indonesia representing 27% of the global MotoGP fanbase.
Swiss company Geobrugg has shipped 1550 mobile debris fence panels for placement around the circuit and 31 moulds to create the concrete blocks for each turn. These parts are due to arrive on the island of Lombok in January.
The Mandalika circuit is aiming to become a FIM Class A and FIA Grade 1 level circuit, with the aim of also attracting four-wheel championships in the future.
"MotoGP is our priority at the moment but we have our eye on the long term,” said Mark Hughes, interim COO of the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
“We will have car racing at some point, and it makes sense to use an FIA-endorsed product like the Geobrugg fences so that we are ready for the pinnacle of car racing if required. I've used Geobrugg before on other circuit projects and I think it is a fantastic product.”
Hughes is responsible for developing the track and the area around it as a tourist destination. The area around the circuit will include numerous luxury hotels and leisure facilities. The circuit itself is 4.32km in length and will feature 17 corners.
“It's an incredibly fast track,” Hughes added. "We spoke with a number of riders when we were going through the different design iterations and everybody identified it as being one of the fastest tracks on the calendar.”
The production of Geobrugg concrete barriers will be done on site in order to meet the mid-2021 deadline.
"We will be providing the training of barrier production, pit wall production, panel assembly, and installation of all barrier types," Geobrugg’s Director of Motorsport Solutions, Jochen Braunwarth said. "This will accelerate the process of installing all of the important safety elements around the track itself.”
As well as being a race circuit, Mandalika will also be a public road which gives access to the tourist facilities on site. This presented a unique challenge due to the safety requirements by the FIM for the runoff areas. They will be a lot larger than at traditional circuits which means the barriers will be further away from the track.
“That was our single biggest challenge because that's a lot of space either side of the road,” explained Hughes. “Understandably, no one wants the riders hitting anything, the goal is for them to be able to go through the gravel and naturally come to a halt before they get to a barrier.”
Work will continue on the Indonesian circuit throughout the winter.