Indonesia edges towards MotoGP return

Plans to restore Indonesia to the MotoGP calendar are gaining momentum, with government ministers having met on Wednesday to discuss engineering the sport's return.

Indonesia last played host to a MotoGP race in 1997 at the Sentul Circuit, and while they have been attempts to bring both MotoGP and World Superbikes back to the country since then, nothing has materialised as of yet.

In May, reports surfaced that talks had taken place involving MotoGP's commercial rights holder Dorna Sports, the Indonesian Government and the owners of the Sentul Circuit. While no decision was reached at the time, Indonesian officials are working to turn the idea of an Indonesian MotoGP race into a reality.

"We must discuss this Moto GP event immediately. I have submitted the budget to the parliament. The government is really serious in preparing for this event as it will help boost the tourism sector," Youth and Sports Minister Imam Nahrowi has been quoted as saying by ANTARA News.

Suharso Monoarfa, a member of the advisory board, added that it was clear that motor racing had an avid following in Indonesia.

"The idea to hold Moto GP event received a direct response from President Joko Widodo (Jokowi). According to the data, Indonesians comprise the largest chunk of the audience that watches Formula One race in Singapore and Malaysia," he said.

It is the success of Indonesia's Southeast Asian neighbours in hosting multiple motorsport events that add further weight to the push to bring MotoGP back to Indonesia.

"If a small country like Singapore can hold the event, we, too, can hold it. The Ministry of Public Works and Housing is ready to support with infrastructure building," said Public Works and Housing Minister Basoeki Hadimoeljono.