MotoGP: Portuguese GP is a Go for 2012

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After much speculation that MotoGP would forego stopping in Portugal this year, the premier motorcycle racing series will keep five stops on the Iberian peninsula on its 2012 MotoGP Championship calendar after all. With the Portuguese GP struggling to make ends meet, it was thought that Estoril would be dropped for 2012, as it seemed increasingly clear that the local government was not going to step in and help subsidize the cost of hosting MotoGP in Portugal. Coming to some sort of accord with Dorna & the FIM, MotoGP has confirmed that Estoril will remain on the schedule for this year, though its future is certainly still tenuous.

With economics in the eurozone likely to continue putting financial strain on local governments, and MotoGP having a serious crowding issue with races in Spain & Italy, the writing could well be on the wall for Estoril to be replaced next year with another round. With MotoGP coming to Texas and Argentina in 2013, and South Korea & India eager to host a future round as well, tracks that are struggling financially, like Estoril and Jerez, could easily find themselves replaced with more profitable substitutes.

With MotoGP increasingly becoming a European-centric sport that pretends to have a world market presence, the MotoGP Championship now more than ever needs to begin thinking about expanding its venues outside of the European Union. There already exists a compelling reason for Dorna to begin hosting races in developing motorcycle markets, such as India, South America, and Southeast Asia, something that the media rights holder to MotoGP is slowly becoming aware of with its actions.

2012 MotoGP Championship Calendar:

April 8th – Qatar GP – Losail*
April 29th – Spainish GP – Jerez de la Frontera
May 6th – Portugese GP – Estoril
May 20th – French GP – Le Mans
June 3rd – Catalan GP – Catalunya
June 17th – British GP – Silverstone
June 30th – Dutch TT – Assen**
July 8th – German – Sachsenring
July 15th – Italian GP – Mugello
July 29th – US GP – Laguna Seca***
August 19th – Indianapolis GP – Indianapolis
August 26th – Czech GP – Brno
September 16th – San Marino – Misano
September 30th – Aragon GP – Motorland Aragon
October 14th – Japan GP – Motegi
October 21st – Malaysian GP – Sepang
October 28th – Australian GP – Phillip Island
November 11th-  Valencian GP – Ricardo Tormo Valencia

* Evening Race
** Saturday Race
*** Only MotoGP class

Source: FIM; Photo: Ducati Corse