Question Marks for MotoGP in America for 2011

08/02/2010 @ 12:36 pm, by Jensen Beeler12 COMMENTS

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.

Source: MotoMatters & MCN

  • KK

    BRING IT TO NJMP!!! that would amazing….

    although the track still needs safety upgrades to make it more suitable for motorcycle racing

  • emd

    Laguna & Jersey… How would that even come close to competing?… Miller well yes it would

  • augsxr750

    Having attended the last two USGPs at Indy, I would hate to see it go. Sure it isn’t the greatest venue for bikes but they are well equipped to handle the crowd (which is going to look small on TV no matter what, that place is HUGE). I can see how the costs and operation create a logistical nightmare though. The other venues mentioned in the article (other than Miller) do not seem like GP type venues. New Jersey does have a large, concentrated population around it and would for sure draw a crowd, but that place needs a lot of work.

  • Given the attempts by MotoGP to cut costs I could not believe the two US rounds of 2010 were not 2 or 3 weeks apart with maybe some testing and rider appearances/pr thrown in whilst the ‘show’ was in town. Staggering decision to move it all in and out twice!

  • davinci78

    Agreed Derek. Let’s give motogp more promotion here in the US. And some cable or satellite company NEEDS to buy the rights to rebroadcast, LIVE Eurosport for the races as I need to get me some Mooney and Ryder.

  • Mark

    “Laguna Seca has always been the more popular American venue for MotoGP”
    What ???? Too bad the numbers don’t support your biased opinion. The Indy MotoGP in 2008 was attended by 91,000 on race day and 75,000 in 2009, both events threatened with rain.
    This past Laguna round, despite typically gorgeous Cali weather, scenery and women, and the addition of an AMA round for support could only muster 51,000.
    I can say with confidence that this years Indy MotoGP attendance figures will dwarf Laguna’s yet again. If Laguna Seca is the more “popular” American venue, more people would be attending. If any American MotoGP round should be in question, based on it’s popularity it should be Laguna.

  • Yes, MotoGP at Indy was so popular in 2009 only 75% of the attendee’s came back to watch it the next year.

    In the MotoGP paddock, the Indianapolis GP is generally considered a failure, so it’s not too surprising that projections for the 2010 Indy GP put it at less tickets than Laguna Seca.

    Just because a lot of people show up for an inaugural event, doesn’t mean it’s popular.

  • Micah

    Austin, Texas GP anyone? Construction on a Formula One facility breaks ground in December (fingers crossed) with a F1 race scheduled in 2012 (toes crossed). I hate to say it but I hope one of the U.S. GP’s gets dropped just for a chance see one in ATX. This is a pipe dream that I’m not yet willing to flush.

  • Jake Fox

    Here’s the most important question. How much money does each venue make for its owners/investors? Is it Laguna Seca with its 51,000 ticket sales or Indy with its 75,000? Of course the Inaguaral IndyGP would have more ticket sales than the following year, it had the added hype of being the first. You need a larger data set than just two years of ticket sales to establish a legitimate trend. It doesn’t matter to MotoGP how many tickets are sold, they care about how much money they are getting from the venues. They race in Qatar for chrissakes!

  • Craig

    The inagural GP was ruined by the remnants of hurricane Ike, which forced the cancellation of the 250’s…I’ve been to Indy twice (F1 and GP) and it’s rained both times. (So of course it’ll rain this year since I’m going). Perhaps the risk of bad weather is a factor? Monterey weather may be quirky but it doesn’t rain there in July. With apologies to the AMA, if Dorna runs the 125’s and Moto2 at Laguna, I wouldn’t need to go to Indy.

  • Barry

    If the underclasses run at Laguna, I’m sure the attendance would mushroom. I spoke with Carmelo Ezpeleta’s son this year at Laguna who indicated a strong chance for all 3 classes to race in CA, if not in 2011, almost certainly in 2012.

  • Dirty Twin

    Put the Moto Gp in Miller and it sells 35,000 tickets, everyone has to stay in Salt Lake, Tooele has no night life, not enough hotels, and 1 Denny’s! this year after WSB the sheriff
    decided to pull over only and every motorcycle leaving the race to check insurance, registration and licence… are you freakin kidding me??? put on your big boy underwear,
    buy a ticket to Indy and go to the only track that you can see virtually the whole circuit.
    I have been to both Indy Moto Gp’s, it is head and shoulders above Laguna, Indy doesn’t have $260.00 per night Super 8’s!, want to go to the flat track, $20.00 cab ride, cruise Meridian and look at bikes on Friday/Saturday night, sorry it won’t be the freak show you see at Cannery Row, but you will see 3 or 4 thousand bike’s and probably everything from Aprilia to Zundap.
    To say it was raining in Indy at both races, is like Kenny Roberts saying “I rode a 2 Stroke
    flat tracker a couple of times”. If you can’t get to Indy to see Moto Gp, then USA doesn’t deserve a round, it’s a $79.00 flight from just about anywhere in the country, rental cars can be had for $29.00 per day, it is only a $20.00 cab ride from down town to the track!, parking is cheap, plentiful and across the street from the grandstand, you can get a hotel room for under $185.00, come on motorcycle fans, buy a ticket and talk 2 of your buddies into splitting the hotel room, get to Indy and get a close up look at what Moto GP in the USA is all about!