World Superbike to Indonesia

Cycle News Staff | February 21, 2012

The World Superbike Championship will return to Indonesia in 2013 after a gap of 16 years and may further increase its footprint in Asia with a race in India.

Maurizio Flammini, President of Infront Motor Sports, signed a contract on February 15 to return to the Sentul Circuit for the first time since 1997, when John Kocinski won the first race and Carl Fogarty the second. The 1997 race was the final round of the season and it may again take that spot on the calendar. The other option is to pair it at the start of the year with Phillip Island, Australia.

There was no announcement by Infront Motor Sports about whether the number of rounds would increase or remain the same with the addition of one, and possibly two, races. This year’s championship travels to 14 circuits in 11 countries.

The world’s third most populous democracy with a mostly young population – the median age is 28.2-years-old – approaching 250 million, Indonesia is an important addition to the World Superbike calendar. An archipelago of 17,508 islands, Indonesia is one of the largest and fastest growing motorcycle markets in the world, with a total of 7,400,000 mostly small displacement units sold in 2010 and an estimated 10 percent increase for 2011.

“We are also negotiating with the Buddh International Circuit in India, where the Formula One race was recently held, in order to complete a presence in Asia that in this case will be absolutely extraordinary,” Flammini said.

The MotoGP World Championship tried to put India on this year’s calendar before running into scheduling complications. It’s expected to be on the 2013 calendar, along with races in Austin, Texas and Buenos Aires, Argentina. But don’t expect Sentul on the MotoGP calendar any time soon. Asked about the possibility of returning to Indonesia for the first time since 1997 – a race won by Honda rider Tady Okada – Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said recently asked, “You have a circuit? Unfortunately, we have to have circuits to race.” Was it possible to homologate or improve the existing one, he was asked? “Existing one, no,” he said.