Indonesia to host MotoGP on earthquake-hit island

Indonesia is set to host a MotoGP street race from 2021 on the island of Lombok, which was rocked by deadly earthquakes last year.

Team Suzuki Ecstar's Alex Rins returns to the pit lane during the last day of the 2019 MotoGP pre-season testing.   -  AFP Photo

Indonesia is set to host a MotoGP street race from 2021 on the island of Lombok, which was rocked by deadly earthquakes last year, the country's tourism development agency said.

The project is intended to help Lombok, a beauty spot adjacent to Bali, recover from the quakes that killed more than 500 people in July and August, a senior official said previously.

The premier motorbike race will be held on a new circuit which will reportedly be 4.32-kilometres (2.68 miles) long with 18 corners, and will double as a regular street at other times.

A three-year deal was reached between MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports and the Indonesia Tourism Development Corporation, the state-backed agency said late on Thursday.

“(The site) will be designated as a sports tourism destination and the plan is to build a MotoGP circuit there by 2021,” tourism ministry spokesman Guntur Sakti told AFP on Friday.

French company Vinci Construction will lead the building project, according to ITDC director Abdulbar Mansoer.

Mansoer has said the project was expected to boost tourism in Indonesia and help Lombok recover from last year's earthquakes.

The new track will host races between 2021 and 2023. The announcement follows Thailand's debut MotoGP last year as the sport looks to fast-growing Southeast Asia, where it has a strong following.