Indonesia’s new Mandalika circuit expects to be ready for a MotoGP debut by mid-2021.
The track is currently one of three reserve venues on the provisional version of next year’s calendar alongside Portimao (Portugal) and Igora Drive Circuit (Russia), but further changes to the 20-round schedule are all but certain.
“Today we have 20 GPs on the calendar and it’s not possible [to have all 20],” Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta acknowledged. “But in case any of those are not possible, we will try to allocate Igora Drive as second reserve after Portimao.”
That would mean the new Mandalika ‘street circuit’ is third reserve and, like Finland’s KymiRing, is still ‘subject to homologation’. However, the scale of the likely calendar changes means few would be surprised if all the reserve tracks ultimately get an opportunity, should they be ready.
To speed up efforts to meet Mandalika’s mid-2021 completion target, the production of Geobrugg concrete barriers will be done on-site. The Swiss company has shipped 31 moulds to create the concrete blocks needed for each turn, plus 1,550 mobile debris fence panels, which will arrive on the island of Lombok in January.
The 4.32km circuit is also aiming to meet not only FIM Class A but also FIA Grade 1 level. And despite featuring no less than 17 corners, “It’s an incredibly fast track,” insisted Mark Hughes, interim COO of the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC), which is developing the track and the area around it as a tourist destination with numerous luxury hotels and leisure facilities.
“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.”
Away from MotoGP weekends, the track will be used as a public road to access the tourist facilities on site, presenting a unique challenge to meet the FIM safety requirements for runoff areas. As such, these will be a lot larger than at traditional circuits, meaning 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.”
In stark contrast to this year’s Covid induced closed-door events, Mandalika is aiming to host what would be the biggest race day crowd of the MotoGP season at 150,000 fans.