The Indonesian MotoGP will attract over 60,000 spectators with the tickets for the event being sold out.
When 60,000 spectators converge on the tourist island of Lombok for Indonesia’s first MotoGP race in 25 years, it will be the largest attendance for any athletic event in the country since the start of the coronavirus outbreak.
On Wednesday, Indonesian President Joko Widodo welcomed 20 racers to the presidential palace in Jakarta, ahead of the start of a procession leading up to the grand prix on Sunday at the seaside Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit.
“Our target of 60,000 tickets has been sold, thank God,” Widodo said a news conference.
“I told them that there are 122 million of motorcycles in Indonesia,” Widodo said. “So, they have a huge fans in Indonesia and (MotoGP race) here will make them so happy.”
The president told the racers that Indonesia, with a population of 270 million people, is a motorcycle-loving country.
Last November, almost 30,000 people saw the Superbike World Championship final at Pertamina Mandalika.
The race on Sunday is the 2022 season’s second grand prix. The Gresini Ducati team’s Enea Bastianini won the season opening in Qatar earlier this month.
Hundreds of people lined the road leading to the Hotel Indonesia traffic circles fountain in Jakarta’s central business district to see the parade, which featured over 60 Indonesian bikers.
Although MotoGP is one of Indonesia’s most popular sports, it has been 25 years since the country hosted a round in Sentul, West Java.
Indonesia has sought inclusion in the race calendar but has failed to find a world-class circuit. In 2015, Widodo’s administration chose Mandalika on the beautiful Lombok island, near Bali, to create a new racing track from the ground up rather than rebuilding the old one in Sentul.
Lombok, like Bali, is famed for its beautiful beaches and mountains. There are 17 corners, 40 garages, and a 507-meter start-to-finish straight on the new 4.3-kilometer (2.6-mile) circuit. The grandstand can hold up to 50,000 people, with a total seating capacity of 200,000.
The Superbike World Championship, held in November last year, was Indonesia’s first major international motorcycle race in more than two decades, and was intended to serve as a springboard for the rebirth of tourism in one of the country’s most popular places, according to officials.
Only spectators who were completely vaccinated or had negative COVID-19 testing were allowed inside the racetrack.