MotoGP: Catalunya to Stay on 2013 Calendar with 19 Races?

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Barcelona looks set to remain on the MotoGP calendar for the foreseeable future, despite concerns over the financial viability of the round. In an interview with the Spanish newspaper Mundo Deportivo, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has confirmed that the contract, signed for five years in 2011, will be honored by both Dorna and the regional government of Catalonya, which helps fund the race.

Back in March, at the presentation of the Jerez round, Ezpeleta had stated that he expected there to be three Spanish rounds of MotoGP in 2013, with both Aragon and Jerez confirmed, and Barcelona and Valencia alternating. However, in the interview with Mundo Deportivo, Ezpeleta was less certain of the continuation of Jerez, as the agreement he had signed had been with the previous mayor of Jerez of the socialist PSOE party, and he had not yet spoken to the new mayor from the conservative PP party. However, Jerez, like Barcelona, has a five-year contract with Dorna to organize a MotoGP round, and Ezpeleta expect the race to go ahead.

With Barcelona and Aragon confirmed, and Jerez extremely likely, that leaves Valencia as a possible candidate to be dropped from the calendar. Ezpeleta told Mundo Deportivo that he is still waiting for a reply from the circuit in Cheste, meaning that his assertion that there would be only three rounds on the Iberian peninsula is uncertain. There could be just two races next year, or perhaps three – the preferred option for the future – or there could once again be four races in Spain in 2014. That is not a sustainable proposition, however, Ezpeleta said.

With the addition of Texas, Argentina, and India, the calendar could expand to 19 races. But the situation is still uncertain, as doubts continue to cloud the future of the circuit in Austin, Texas, with litigation ongoing between the circuit owners and previous principal Tavo Hellmund. There was a proposal to go to Russia as well, Ezpeleta explained, and for 2014 and beyond, Ezpeleta was looking further afield. A round in Brazil was a definite possibility, to be held at a track which has not seen either F1 or MotoGP racing there. “We have to go where they ask us to come and race,” Ezpeleta told Mundo Deportivo.

A provisional 2013 calendar will be proposed some time in August – traditionally on the weekend of the Brno round of MotoGP – though if the economic crisis which continues to dog Europe has not abated, there could still be significant changes before it is finalized.

Source: Mundo Deportivo; Photo: Yamaha Racing

This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.