Carmelo Ezpeleta Visits Bali - First Step Towards An Indonesian Round Of MotoGP

On Tuesday, Dorna issued a press release together with the Indonesian Tourism Development Company, or ITDC, that brought an Indonesian round of MotoGP one step closer to reality. If the plans come to fruition, MotoGP could be racing on a specially-adapted street circuit on the island of Lombok as early as 2021.

Carmelo Ezpeleta and his son (and MotoGP Sporting Director) Carlos visited Nusa Dua, in the south of Bali, one of Indonesia's favorite destinations for tourists, as guest of the ITDC. While he was there, they hopped across to Lombok, the next island east of Bali, to visit the Mandalika tourist resort on the south coast of Lombok, which is currently under development. 

The plan is for a race to be organized on a circuit using the public roads inside the resort. This is the 'street race' which was rumored much earlier in the year, but about which few details had emerged. Safety concerns are much easier to address, as the layout of the tourist resort will feature wide roads and plenty of open spaces, with plenty of room to create gravel traps and run off. 

Dorna have been very keen to organize a race in Indonesia, both because it is a key market for the manufacturers in MotoGP, and because of the enormous and enthusiastic fan base in the country. They have previously been in discussion with the Sentul circuit, just outside the Indonesian capital Jakarta, and also at a new circuit to be built at Palembang, on the island of Sumatra. Those plans fell through, in part over arguments over financing, and in the case of Sentul, because of political disputes with Tommy Suharto, son of the former president, who is directly involved with the circuit. 

One problem faced by Dorna in organizing a race in Indonesia was the combination of corruption and bureaucracy. There were fears among those involved in the running of a MotoGP weekend that logistics would be difficult, as getting goods through customs on time, and without paying significant bribes, could prove to be a huge challenge, and make the event much more expensive than it would otherwise be. 

Organizing a race at the Mandalika tourist resort would get around a lot of those problems. Mandalika is a so-called Special Economic Tourism Zone, and as such, is exempt from most customs rules for imports into Indonesia. Getting the bikes and equipment into and out of Lombok is much easier, as they are technically never imported into Indonesia, reducing the chances of corruption. Furthermore, organizing a race inside of the Mandalika resort would mean that the entire event is being run by the resort, and as such, would remove much of the corruption caused by local officials. The fact that the event is to be run by the ITDC is also a benefit here, as the government agency has the authority to ensure that the necessary bureaucracy and paperwork is kept to a minimum, as well as the political power to back that up.

Though there is still much to be done before an Indonesian MotoGP race can happen, this project looks the most promising of those which have been proposed so far. The next step would be for a contract to be signed for a race, which would likely be sometime next year, or early 2020 at the latest. 

The press release appears below.

Press Release

The Nusa Dua Bali - Indonesia, November 5th 2018

ITDC (Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation/ PT. Pengembangan Pariwisata Indonesia (Persero)), confirms that between the Australian MotoGP held on Philip Island and the Malaysian Grand Prix, Mr Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports SL, along with the Sporting Director, Mr Carlos Ezpeleta, took a short break to visit the Island of Bali, staying at one of the five-star resorts at the Nusa Dua, a 350-ha integrated Tourism Estate, owned and managed by ITDC.

During this time, Mr Ezpeleta and Mr Abdulbar M. Mansoer, CEO and President Director of ITDC, toured and enjoyed the facilities at the Nusa Dua and also embarked on a day trip to the Island of Lombok to visit the Mandalika, another tourism resort project currently under development by ITDC, situated in the Southern Coast of the Island. Specifically, for this trip, Dorna was visiting a possible location for hosting future Motorbike Race Events within the 1,175-ha integrated tourism estate.

A statement from Mr Abdulbar M. Mansoer reads as follows:

“Mr Carmelo Ezpeleta was primarily at the Nusa Dua for a well-deserved break at the Bali National Golf Club before heading out to Kuala Lumpur for the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang. It was not his first time to the Island as he visited the Nusa Dua around 2 years prior beforehand. For this visit, during his busy schedule and on route between the two races, he wanted to visit Bali as well as Lombok, where we welcomed him to the Mandalika and presented a potential concept to host future Motorbike Race Events. His visit was brief, but we believe that he sincerely enjoyed his break and of course we would be very happy to welcome him back to Bali and Lombok in the near future.”


PT Pengembangan Pariwisata Indonesia (Persero) or Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) is a state-owned enterprise focused in creating new tourism destinations in Indonesia. For over 40 years, ITDC has developed the Nusa Dua as a tourism area in Bali to be one of the world’s most prestigious tourism destinations. Currently in the Nusa Dua, there are 19 starred hotels which offer 5,000+ hotel rooms, shopping centres, a museum, cultural venues, an 18-hole golf course, an international hospital and other tourism amenities. With two international MICE facilities, the Nusa Dua has become host to various international large-scale events, including the UN Climate Change 2007, APEC 2013, Bali Democratic Forum, Miss World 2013 and recently the World Bank IMF Annual Meetings. Consistently managed with an environmentally friendly concept, the Nusa Dua has earned various awards such as Kalpataru of the Government of the Republic of Indonesia and certification of Tri Hita Karana of Tri Hita arana Bali Foundation, Indonesia Sustainable Tourism Award 2017 as well as ASEAN Sustainable Tourism Award 2018. At the global level, in 2004, the Nusa Dua obtained the first Certification of Green Globe 21 Asia Pacific in the world for “Community Resort” category awarded by Green Globe Foundation, a global institution supported by the UN.


The Mandalika, an Integrated Tourism Complex is situated in the South of Lombok, Indonesia next to the neighboring Island of Bali. The destination itself is designated a Special Economic Tourism Zone, encompassing a total area of 1.175 ha of prime Real Estate specifically dedicated for the development of an International Tourism Complex. With 16km of Beachfront, the Mandalika is managed under ITDC, which is known for the development and management of the Nusa Dua Tourism Complex in Bali, Indonesia.


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Good luck to those involved with this project.

Would you believe after the nightmare traffic from S.I.C. back to our hotel I turned on the television to look for some highlights & found the Under Bone 150 races from Sentul. Dear oh dear the circuit is in a woeful state, patched and bumpy with lots of concrete walls. The racing was entertaining.

Lombok looks credible, I hope it goes ahead. To be honest after the debacle of the circuit of Wales & the troubles of lake Torrent I'm cynical. Never mind the frozen progress of Norway.

Indonesian would be great for me and many other Aussies and Kiwis. I could use my schoolboy bahasa that I've not used for decades. A holiday on Bali & Lombok could be fun. The first news I saw regarding a racetrack at Lombok was just before news of an earthquake effecting Lombok. Sulawesi also has had a very tough time lately. It would be good to visit Indonesia and share the MotoGp love & spend some money.

Good luck. Semoga beruntung teman- teman saya.

"Kun asutte auringonpolttamassa maassa (tulkita tätä kuivaksi, kuivuneeksi, kuivuneeksi maaksi), jota hallitsee pyörivä kokoelma kronyistisiä poliitikkoja, yksi jäädytetty hautausmaa näyttää toiselta." Thanks to Google translate

Sorry for the error, but we are pretty isolated down here. Feel free to invite me over and educate me about the difference. I have seen pictures of snow!. 

Scandinavian geography was never my strength. I get Anderstorp & Mika Kallio all mixed up. I hope you can forgive my mistake. No, please not the one star!

I think this is a very good news for all of us in Indonesia. Sentul is in a ridiculously awful shape. Let alone a Motogp race, I don't think it's safe for a big bike racing. The sketch of the circuit in palembang is actually pretty good, I don't know how it fell through though. Building a circuit near Bali, which is the most popular tourist destination here, is actually makes perfect sense. They can rebuild the place affected by earthquake and build a circuit at the same time.





It's clear why Dorna pursues S.E. Asia locales because of the huge markets and fan following. On a semi-related topic, I am just hearing about the lack of a USA. WSBK round in 2019 (Laguna Seca not on the the schedule - but coming back for 2020?). Can you comment on how the Laguna Seca cancellation came about? Money-Sponsorship? Scheduling (I heard maybe they are limited in events/year)? Facilities Issues? What's Dorna's view of USA rounds in general for both series?


I`ve lived in Indonesia for a few years and I can attest to the tremendous popularity of MotoGP in the country.  Everyone loves or knows about it.  Very impressive.

However, hosting this event on Lombok seems very odd!?  It’s a small (mostly rural) island that depends on tourism.  Some tourist will go to this race, but not 80 000 of them.  A tremendous number of locals will also want to attend the race, but unless the ticket prices are 1/15th of what they sell for in Europe, I can not imagine that the grandstands will be full of locals.  That leaves a tremendous dependence on tourist from abroad and Java/Sumatra.  Will tens of thousands of them fly to Lombok to watch MotoGP?  I would love for this to be true, but I`m doubtful.  Unless the local government subsidies the ticket prices for local, I`m pessimistic about this business model.

i agree for most of the part of your comments especially abou tthe ticket prices, but do you have any idea of how many thousand of us actually fly to sepang just to watch the motogp? i for one is one of them, and i'm yearning of having an indonesian motogp.

now imagine if the race was held locally, which means: they can get there by bus or even motorcycle which significantly less expensive to travel than planes in a whole, food prices are more 'acceptable', cheap hotels are available everywhere, even most of us would be happy to camp if it's all it takes. if you live long enough in Indonesia, you'll understand that all of those are within the boundary of what's possible for us to do.

just my 0.02, maybe i'm dreaming of it too much