Indonesian President Inaugurated and Ride on the Mandalika Circuit: Ready for World Superbike & MotoGP

President Jokowi ride on the new Mandalika Circuit and inaugurated the 4.3 kilometers track. The circuit is ready for World Superbike and MotoGP.

Nusantara Pol - Indonesian President Joko Widodo (Jokowi) inaugurated the Mandalika Circuit which is located in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Central Lombok Regency, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Province, on Friday (12/11/2021).

The President is confident that world-class events are ready to be held in the newly inaugurated Mandalika Circuit.

“The Mandalika Circuit with a circuit length of 4.3 kilometers, with the latest asphalt technology, stone mastic asphalt (SMA), has also been completed and is ready for use. Everything is ready to be used to support the organization of world-class events in the Mandalika Region, as the next one will be held again, namely World Superbike 2021 and continued in March 2022 with MotoGP, "explained the President, as quoted from Cabinet Secretariat website (12/11/2021).

President Jokowi when testing the Mandalika Circuit personally at the Mandalika SEZ, Central Lombok Regency, NTB Province, Friday (12/11/2021). (Photo: BPMI Setpres/Kris)
President Jokowi when testing the Mandalika Circuit personally at the Mandalika SEZ, Central Lombok Regency, NTB Province, Friday (12/11/2021). (Photo: BPMI Setpres/Kris)

Along with the inauguration of the Mandalika Circuit, the President also inaugurated a bypass road connecting Lombok International Airport (BIL) with the Mandalika SEZ. The 17.3 kilometer road is ready for use and will shorten the travel time between the airport and the Mandalika SEZ.

"Alhamdulillah, we should be grateful that the construction of the Lombok International Airport bypass road to Mandalika with a length of 17.3 kilometers has been built and is ready to be used so that the distance between the airport and Mandalika is only 15 minutes," he said.

Prior to the inauguration, President Jokowi had time to try out the Mandalika Circuit directly by riding his personal motorbike. 

The condition of the circuit which had been drenched in rain made the President ride more carefully, especially considering the condition of the circuit which has many sharp turns. 

"I think there are a lot of very sharp corners, here there are 17 corner points which I think are all difficult for me. For racers, there might be no problem, but for me it is very difficult," said the President after the inauguration. 

The motorbike the President was riding was a modified Kawasaki W175. The motorbike was previously used by President Jokowi when testing the trans-Kalimantan border road located in Krayan District, Nunukan Regency, North Kalimantan Province on December 19, 2019. 

When testing the circuit track, President Jokowi admitted that he did not dare to drive his motorbike fast. This was caused by the wet track conditions due to rain. "This is the Mandalika Circuit, it's a new circuit and it just rained, so I didn't dare to go fast. Even though it's not speeding, I think the others are far behind," said the President.

The President also reminded that the implementation of international events at the Mandalika Circuit should follow the health protocol during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Once again, the health protocol is strict and I have ordered (the events) to be supported by the Task Force so that the governance of each event continues to be maintained with the health protocol," he added. 

The Head of State hopes that the Mandalika Circuit can also create new points of economic growth in the West Nusa Tenggara (NTB) Province. The President is confident that major international events such as the World Superbike and MotoGP will have a significant impact on economic growth in the region.

"I think this is a big event that will be held every year at the Mandalika Circuit and will certainly have an impact on economic growth in the NTB Province," he said. 

"Yes, we will try World Superbike first, then MotoGP will be carried out, we will evaluate it, which direction will be seen later," he said. 

The Mandalika Circuit itself has a track length of 4.3 kilometers, a width of 15 meters, and is equipped with 17 corners and has a fairly wide and high speed trap. This track is equipped with two service roads, namely the inner service road (3.8 kilometers long and 14 meters wide) and the outter service road (4.32 kilometers long and 14 meters wide), as well as the pit lane (835 meters long and 14 meters wide).

The new Mandalika Circuit is located in the Mandalika Special Economic Zone (SEZ) which is managed by PT Indonesia Tourism Development (Persero) or known as the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC). ITDC is part of InJourney, supporting state-owned enterprise holding in tourism sector that officially operates with the issuance of Government Regulation Number 104 of 2021 on October 6, 2021.

Controversial Circuit 

Previously, the development of the Mandalika Circuit were met with resistance by affected local residents. According to BBC, the mega project which cost Rp43.5 trillions was accused of violating local resident rights during its development period.

In a press release by the United Nation, there is an allegation that the circuit development leads to aggressive land grabbing, forced evictions of the Sasak Indigenous Peoples, and intimidations.

Regarding the allegations of human rights violations, the Head of Public Relations of the West Nusa Tenggara Regional Police, Kombes Pol Artanto had denied the accusation. "It's not true at all, in principle, we from the NTB Police have made efforts that are humanistic and uphold local culture," said Artanto, as quoted from BBC. 

In March 31, 2021, in the Government of the Republic of Indonesia  released an official statement which rejects the news release by several Special Procedures Mandate Holders, entitled “Indonesia: UN expert warns of human rights threat to USD 3 billion tourism project ” of 31 March 2021. 

According to the statement, the news release had misrepresented cases of legal disputes related to the sale of land, subjecting it into the false and hyperbolic narrative.