Rumors have been swelling for the past few months about the state of MotoGP in the United States, as both Laguna Seca and Indianapolis Motor Speedway were up for contract renewal with Dorna and the FIM. Laguna Seca has always been the more popular American venue for MotoGP, and during the Red Bull US GP stop, the famous Californian track and the premiere motorcycle series again solidified their relationship, extending the GP’s presence at Laguna Seca into 2014. But what fate bestills IMS and the timing of the US GP weekends after 2010?
While there was little doubt that Laguna Seca would see its contract lapse with MotoGP (although there were some nay-sayers), there is widespread speculation that Indy may be dropped from the 2011 MotoGP calendar. Tracks like Miller Motorsports Park, which is already playing host to World Superbike & FIM, and New Jeresy Motorsports Park, which was made with premiere racing in-mind, are only a couple of suitable replacements available to MotoGP.
While we wait for confirmation that MotoGP will renew with Indianapolis Motor Speedway, intrigue over the 2011 calendar regarding MotoGP’s stops in the United States has also heightened. As it stands now, MotoGP comes to the US for Laguna Seca, takes a two week break, then travels to Brno, takes another two week break, and comes back to the US for Indianapolis. With the massive logistics nightmare involved in transporting a small town across the Atlantic Ocean and back two times in one month, Dorna is hoping to cut costs by possibly having the US rounds be back-to-back.
There are some drawbacks to having both US GP’s occurring in the same month, with an issue of novelty perhaps being the largest concern. While from a logistics point-of-view having both US races next to each other on the calendar helps lower costs, it’s likely to cause direct competition between the venues, and the cannibalization of ticket sales.
The last bit of rumor for the US GP’s is the inclusion of the MotoGP’s traditional support races at Laguna Seca: 125GP (or Moto3) and Moto2. Currently Laguna Seca is supported by the AMA Pro Racing superbike races, but Dorna hopes to bring the full GP racing gamut to the Californian track. The addition of these teams and gear is perhaps the leading cause for wanting to have the US GP’s be back-to-back on the MotoGP calendar, as bringing that much gear across the Atlantic twice in a month is extremely expensive. While there’s been no mention of the AMA getting bumped by the other GP classes, it wouldn’t surprise us terribly to see these classes make their Californian debut in the future.
Obviously there are still a lot of “if’s” and question marks for both series. As the Indianapolis GP approaches us in four weeks time, some of the answers will come to fruition, while we’ll be left to speculate on some of the others. As always, time will tell.