The World Superbike Championship could make a long-awaited return to Asia in 2013 with reports that a deal has been agreed with Indonesia's Sentul circuit.
While there has been no official announcement from Infront Sports & Media, rights holders for WSBK, Tinton Soeprapto, director of PT Sarana Sirkuitindo Utama - which manages the Sentul International Circuit - told local media that a deal has been signed for 2013-2015.
An agreement was also announced to host a round of the Superstars Car Racing Championship, also organised by the Flamini brothers/FG Sport, from 2012-2014.
”The contract value of one Superstars series [event] is around 3 million to 4 million euro/year or 35,65 billion rupiahs to 47,53 billion rupiahs/year. The Superbike contract is also around that value,” Tinton told Kompas.com
, adding that the money was coming from private sponsors and not the government.”
Sentul aims to use the WSBK and Superstars events as a springboard to hosting furture grand prix rounds. The circuit is currently being re-surfaced to reach 'international standard'.
”Having international bike and car championships in Indonesia will lift the name of Indonesia worldwide. Also, if Indonesia holds those events successfully, it will be easier to hold F1 and MotoGP in this country,” said Tinton.
Sentul last hosted a WSBK event from 1994 to 1997. Rounds in Malaysia and Japan also featured on the WSBK calendar during the 1990s.
However, an Asian event has been absent from the schedule ever since the 2003 round in Sugo, Japan - the Japanese manufacturers having subsequently withdrawn 'official' support for the series over the 2004 technical rules.
Sentul had been provisionally named on the 2008 WSBK calendar, but didn't make the final cut, while rumours of a deal with Sepang in Malaysia have run off-and-on in recent years.
Indonesia is one of the most important markets for motorcycle sales in the world and its significance to the major motorcycle manufacturers has grown even further following the financial crisis.