Motorcycling: Full house as Grand Prix returns to Indonesia after 25-year absence


MANDALIKA, INDONESIA (REUTERS) – Indonesia will host a sell-out crowd this weekend for its first motorbike grand prix occasion in 1 / 4 of a century, as MotoGP comes to the resort island of Lombok for the second race of the season.

Indonesia has reassured organisers that the monitor on the 4.3km Mandalika International Street Circuit is race-ready, with repairs accomplished following complaints throughout testing final month about grime, rocks and cracks placing riders at risk.

The archipelago nation final hosted a grand prix in 1996 and 1997, however the buzz of motorbike engines by no means left, with tens of tens of millions of bikes in use in Indonesia, the place month-to-month gross sales averaged 421,000 items final yr.

Competitors met Indonesian chief Joko Widodo on Wednesday (March 16) and took a trip across the streets outdoors the Presidential Palace in Jakarta, amongst them six-time MotoGP champion Marc Marquez and 2020 winner Joan Mir, as crowds waved and cheered from the roadside.

The president donned his motorbike leathers, together with a purple and white racing jacket, then waved the chequered flag outdoors the palace to open the parade.

“We’re hoping we have a new brand: that Indonesia now has a MotoGP circuit that’s just as good as other countries,” mentioned Jokowi, as the president is popularly recognized.

Marquez, Jorge Martin, who gained the Styrian race final yr and Enea Bastianini, who gained the 2022 Qatar season opener, had been amongst these noticed making preparations on Thursday at Mandalika, the picturesque island race venue flanked by inexperienced hills and a shocking blue ocean backdrop.

But the selection of Lombok as the venue has courted controversy, with United Nations consultants elevating issues about what they known as aggressive land grabs and compelled eviction of indigenous individuals as a part of a serious tourism mission that features the circuit. The builders have denied that.

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