The Making of Mandalika
PRESS RELEASE // 14 November 2022 // Mrk1 Consulting // Driven International
As the sun sets on the second visit of the FIM World Superbike Championship to the beautiful Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, the original design and implementation team for the project look back at the journey that created Indonesia’s premier motorsport destination located on the idyllic island of Lombok.
In 2017, Mrk1 Consulting, one of the leading track development companies in the world, were asked to support colleagues in a discussion with the Director of the Indonesian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC).
Mark Hughes, MD of Mrk1 Consulting picks up the story.
“The conversation started in a very similar fashion to those we have with a lot of clients. The client has land and would like to consider the addition of a motorsport destination as part of a wider development. This in itself isn’t unusual. The unusual part came when the ITDC said they’d like a street circuit and one that could host MotoGP.
This had never been done before as the challenges around safety for MotoGP are incredibly demanding with a need for large run off areas, something traditional street circuits just do not have. However, we were essentially given a 200Ha blank sheet of paper with very few constraints”.
“Whilst this made the challenge a little easier, there was also the issue of discussing the possibility of a race with DORNA, the commercial owners of MotoGP.
The first few meetings we had with them were amazing. Indonesia was a destination that they wanted to revisit having not raced there for 25 years. There had been many false starts over the years but together with the ITDC, we convinced them this was a genuine project.
In the intervening years between that first initial enquiry and the beginning of construction, an awful lot changed. We brought Driven International, track design architects, to the project and together spent an enormous amount of time working with FIM’s Franco Uncini and Loris Capirossi as well as Carlos Ezpeleta from DORNA to fine tune the track layout.
We also had input from riders including multiple world champion Mick Doohan in the early stages which was invaluable. Site visits took place with key stakeholders including Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO Dorna Sports”.
Ben Willshire, Managing Director at Driven International, recalls the process of designing the circuit.
“In particular, I recall working with Mrk1 and other stakeholders including meetings with DORNA and FIM representatives to refine the layout. I found it really satisfying drawing a modification to the penultimate corner of the track, changing it from a straight entrance to a long tightening radius entry.
The corner requires a long trail brake before a tight hairpin, and we are very proud to have seen riders using different lines to overtake and battle wheel to wheel in the closing laps of the 2021 and 2022 FIM World superbike races, as well as the positive comments from various riders about the challenges that the high speed T8-T9 sequence provides.
When we drove the circuit in our simulator, we knew it would be special and we couldn’t have hoped for higher praise of the circuit layout from the riders”.
The final iteration / design of the 4.23km track design was approved by the FIM for a Grade A homologation in 2019.
The COVID-19 global pandemic could have derailed the project, but the client pushed on working on a site with limited access and resources to create a track that was launched with the 2021 World Superbike race. Nothing short of a remarkable effort from the Indonesians.
Jumping ahead to November and with the world opening up again after the pandemic, the riders finally landed in Lombok to a warm Indonesian welcome and were delighted with the track as soon as they had the chance to walk it. Come Friday and free practice the weather turned and biblical rainfall hit the circuit. Most circuits would not have been able to deal with similar conditions, so the riders pressed on and the feedback for grip and drainage were exceptional.
Hughes continues, “The feedback post the 2021 WSBK race was extraordinary. The race weekend saw torrential wet weather but nonetheless the drainage and asphalt coped and we saw wheel to wheel racing that decided the championship”.
Honestly, it’s one of the grippiest circuits in the wet. The grip is maybe one of the best in the world… they’ve done an incredible job.
x6 WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPION
I’m really happy with the layout of the track because it’s really enjoyable.
2022 WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPION
The track is absolutely fantastic. Credit where credit’s due, it is an unbelievable track, the layout is fantastic. The runoff areas, everything about it is top quality. It’s an outstanding place to finish the season.
2013 WORLD SUPERBIKE CHAMPION
Mark Hughes and the team at Driven International have done a really good job at this track, and they’ve been able to produce a facility that everyone in the Superbike paddock has been full of praise for.
WORLD SUPERBIKE WORLD FEED COMMENTATOR
In early 2022 the track played host to the first MotoGP race in Indonesia in 25 years. Despite some technical challenges and, once again biblical wet weather, the track gained further praise from the world’s best riders.
There isn’t much that compares to Mandalika… so many high speed corners and direction changes. I enjoyed it.
MOTOGP KTM FACTORY RIDER
You really have to breathe before the second sector… extraordinary.
x6 MOTOGP WORLD CHAMPION
The track is nice. It has a little bit of everything… it has its own character.
MOTOGP HONDA FACTORY RIDER
The best quote possibly came from MotoGP World Champion, Fabio Quatararo, who said to Hughes, “this is a big balls track, well done!”
In 2022, the Mandalika Grand Prix Association, the track operator, decided to explore an FIA Grade 2 license for the circuit to accommodate four wheel racing as well as leave the circuit in place longer term, negating the temporary nature of the track and its “street circuit” credentials.
In addition, responding to DORNA and FIM feedback on the track surface the decision was made to resurface the track prior to the 2022 World Superbike Race. Following a tender process, MGPA appointed DROMO to assist the original construction company PP Pereso with the re-surfacing of the track in preparation for the race.
We are delighted to see that the new surface and the perfect weather combined to create another nail biting round of the World Superbike Championship and for the second year in succession, the championship was decided on the island of Lombok, Indonesia.
The original visionaries of this track are incredibly proud have turned an extraordinary idea into reality and to see the Mandalika Circuit continue to be utilised for international events and wish the MGPA team and Indonesia all the best in protecting what is one of the most beautiful, challenging, flowing and iconic circuits in the world for many years to come.
Header – Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, panorama
Image 1 – Original concept for the Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit
Image 2 – Early site visit in 2018, this area became the start finish straight looking towards Turn 1
Image 3 – CAD files depicting one of the early design sequences from T8 to T13
Image 4 – Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, kerb detail
Image 5 – Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, T10
Image 6 – Pertamina Mandalika International Street Circuit, aerial photograph
Mandalika International Street Circuit
Driven International were engaged to support Mrk1 Consulting on the technical and design aspects of the new Mandalika International Street Circuit in Indonesia.
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