Jakarta. Indonesian authorities are making final preparations to host the country’s first MotoGP race since 1997 on the tourist island of Lombok, where spectators will outnumber available accommodation.
The Pertamina Mandalika International Circuit can accommodate 200,000 people but Lombok only has about 16,000 hotel rooms.
“In initial sales, 63,000 tickets including VIP class were sold out immediately on January 6. We plan to sell more tickets online so that a total of 100,000 seats will be reserved in preparation for the race. in March,” Hadi Tjahjanto, the event’s field commander, said during a recent meeting with a number of media companies.
“And I must inform you that all scheduled flights to Lombok from March 18 to 20 are already fully booked,” he added.
The former Indonesian military leader also said Lombok International Airport will receive more than 21,000 arrivals each day before and during the event, a quadruple number compared to normal days.
Organizers face the daunting task of providing accommodation for the international event. Owners of homestays and tourist locations are encouraged to open at maximum capacity for more rooms.
“We will deploy Pelni-owned cruise ships and ferries to add accommodations on coastal areas,” Hadi said, referring to the state-owned shipping company.
Some visitors, including foreigners, may stay on the neighboring island of Bali and come to Lombok on race day by ferry or shuttle bus.
The first test will take place on February 7 when all MotoGP riders and teams arrive for pre-season testing, although the number of arrivals will not reach a binding level.
Hadi said there will be a big rehearsal for air, sea and land traffic management two weeks before race day on March 20 to prepare the island for an extraordinary increase in arrivals.
Construction of the grandstand, VIP village, race control room and power supply is complete.
But the Ministry of Public Works is still working on extending the road to the circuit and an observation deck which is expected to be completed by March 14, Hadi said.
Riders and crew members will be subject to the travel bubble policy as they will not adhere to the mandatory five-day quarantine between their arrival on February 7 and the first day of testing on February 11.
They will all be isolated from any public events and strictly monitored upon arrival from immigration checkpoints to their hotels, which will be “sterilized” two days before check-in, Hadi said.
The brand-new circuit successfully staged its first international grand prix in November when it hosted the final round of World Superbike, but Indonesian authorities expect the number of finishes to triple at the next MotoGP race.
“MotoGP is a demonstration of our achievements on the world stage as it has a huge following in Indonesia and around the world,” Information and IT Minister Johnny Plate said.
“Additionally, we will be hosting the G-20 summit and related events throughout the year, so yes 2022 is a very busy year for us. Both events are becoming the major national agenda and we need to ensure a big success.
The Indonesian round will become the second race on the 2022 MotoGP calendar after Qatar.