The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya has extended its contract with Dorna for another five years.
However, like the contract signed last year with the Ricardo Tormo Circuit in Valencia, the contract does not guarantee a round of MotoGP for every year of the contract.
Instead, both Barcelona and Valencia have signed up to host three races between 2022 and 2026.
With both circuits on the provisional 2022 calendar, that means that they will get two more races between 2023 and 2026. In addition, Barcelona will hold at least two rounds of WorldSBK between 2023 and 2026.
This is part of Dorna’s plan to reduce the number of races on the Iberian peninsula, and more particularly, in Spain.
After 2022, the plan is to have a maximum of 3 races in Spain and Portugal, with the rounds alternating among Barcelona, Valencia, Aragon, Jerez, and Portimão.
With the calendar expanding to include new circuits, the move is necessary to allow new tracks to host a race without increasing the number of races beyond acceptable limits.
At the moment, Dorna has an agreement with the teams to limit the races to a maximum of 22 in a season.
The 2022 calendar contains 21 rounds (subject, as all things, to the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic and government regulations), and with circuits in Russia, Hungary, Vietnam, Saudi Arabia, Brazil, Chile, and Mexico having expressed an interest in hosting a round of MotoGP, it is impossible to make room for those tracks without dropping current circuits.
Alternating between the four Spanish and one Portuguese circuit is a way of opening up space for new tracks.
The move to reduce the number of rounds in Spain will be welcomed, but the fact that there are four circuits in Spain currently homologated to host a round of MotoGP is a sign of just how much the country has become the epicenter of grand prix motorcycle racing.
Circuits litter the country, with at least three other tracks very close to the standard required to host MotoGP. The Circuito de Navarra hosted WorldSBK this year, for example.
The addition of Indonesia to the MotoGP calendar is a long-awaited expansion into new, and MotoGP-mad territory. MotoGP’s future lies in Asia, and opening up the path to the future requires dropping some of the established circuits.
Source: Dorna; Photo: KTM