The rumors finally came true today, as Dorna has signed on the Circuit of the Americas, the new world class facility being built outside of Austin, Texas, for a 10-year contract to host MotoGP racing. Like the Indianapolis GP, and unlike Laguna Seca, the Austin GP (unofficial name) will host all three GP classes on its race weekend, and will begin hosting MotoGP starting with the 2013 season.
This is surely good news for American race fans, as it adds another venue to the roster, which could see three stops in the USA for MotoGP racing. Rumored to possibly be replacing the Indianapolis GP, it was interesting enough to see that the famous mid-west track issued its own statement about the event, putting its full support behind the Texan venue entering the calendars, and what it could mean for American GP racing.
Much of the Austin GP’s announcement is in-fact really about the Indy GP. With the Brickyard on a year-to-year renewal basis regarding its contract with Dorna, the situation around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been tenuous these past couple of years. As details emerged about the Circuit of the Americas, questions began to be raised as to what would happen to the Indy GP once the Austin track was completed.
Riders have long complained about the surface and track conditions at Indianapolis, but the track’s professional facilities, historic name, and proximity to the east coast have so far secured its contract renewal. While the Austin GP cannot do anything about the latter part of that offering, the venue is of world class caliber, and has also snared a contract to Formula 1 as well, which only adds to its prestige.
For Dorna the Austin GP seems like a smart hedging of their bets with Indy, and puts the company in a position where they can effective walk away from the Indiana venue if changes are not made. This puts the Spanish media company in a strong position to demand that modifications be made to the IMS infield, without jeopardizing a two-stop affair in one of the motorcycling’s largest markets. Of course three races in the United States, one in each major region, would be icing on the cake of Dorna and MotoGP, and the optimal outcome of this situation. Time will tell how this negotiation pans out, but judging from the tone set by IMS, things are looking good.
Source: MotoGP & Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Photo: © 2011 Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved