Dorna and Phillip Island have been embroiled in a debate over moving the Australian GP to an earlier venue — a subject that seems to come up every time the premier series comes to the fabled island circuit. After Phillip Island rebuked the idea of moving its date for the MotoGP Championship, choosing to instead balance the race later in the calendar against other major events that come to Oz, namely Formula 1 (March 27th) and World Superbike (February 27th).
Not one to take rejection lightly, Dorna put Phillip Island on notice, suggesting that while the two parties did have a contract that saw the race pegged to the month of October, that agreement was only valid if Phillip Island kept its FIM homologation. This statement presumably suggested that Dorna would influence the FIM to remove accreditation for PI to run MotoGP events, should the Australians hold their ground. With neither party budging, serious concern began to grow over the Australian track.
With the MotoGP Safety Commission meeting today in Qatar, the issue of moving the Australian GP was broached and decided upon, with the Commission choosing to keep MotoGP’s stop in Phillip Island during the month of October. Glad to see his home race intact, Casey Stoner still had some thoughts on the issues surrounding the Australian GP date. Click after the jump to see his thoughts.
“I was disappointed that the safety commission was listening to a couple of riders, and going off their words that the race was unsafe and all these sort of things, said Australian MotoGP racer Casey Stoner in today’s qualifying debrief. “We’ve seen the same conditions at the early part of the year, you know. It’s just as wet, if not sometimes wetter, at the early part of the year, and conditions can be terrible and very difficult.”
“The race day has always been pretty good there, and you know we’ve been pretty lucky these past couple of years,” continued Stoner. “It’s also unlucky that the week before the race it’s been 30 degrees…35 degrees, nice sunny weather, and then race weekend comes, we turn up, and the weather turns to crap.”
“I don’t think the changing of the time of year is really going to change that too much, but it’s just disappointing that they threatened them so much, saying we’re going to cancel if they don’t change. Yet, we goto a track like Portugal or Indianapolis, where they don’t have to change surface, when it’s obvious that it’s terrible, it’s freaking fifty years old, really bumpy and quite dangerous in some areas.”
“For some reason they don’t have to change, but then they feel that they can put pressure on other circuits to change and do what they want. There’s quite a lot of contradiction to me in regards to the decisions they made, but we’ll see how they go this year, and see if they quiet down with these things.”