One more question mark can be removed from the provisional MotoGP calendar for 2012. The ADAC - the German automobile association which organizes the German round of MotoGP and owns the Sachsenring - have invited the press to a press event to be held in pit lane at the Sachsenring on Friday, December 2nd, to be attended by the Prime Minister of the Free State of Saxony and the President of the ADAC's sport section. The subject of the event is the future of the German round of MotoGP, and though the invitation says nothing about what is to be announced at the event, the guests and the location point to just one conclusion: The Sachsenring is to continue to host the German MotoGP race for 2012, and, according to leading German-language magazine Speedweek, well beyond.
The German Grand Prix had looked in serious doubt in the middle of the season. The organizers and track owners ADAC had protested that the increase in the sanctioning fee demanded by Dorna - to 3 million euros per race - along with investment of 1 million euros required to make the changes to the circuit demanded by the riders (which included pushing back the fence at Turn 1) would leave the facility facing a deficit of 850,000 euros for each event, an amount that the ADAC was not willing to bear on its own. The ADAC were pressuring the regional government of Saxony, the German state where the Sachsenring is situated, to provide financial assistance, as the race attracts race-day attendances of over 130,000 to the tightly-packed circuit, making it one of the best-attended races of the year. The large numbers of fans coming into the region from the rest of Germany, the Netherlands and Scandinavia brought much-needed cash into the area, and the ADAC hoped that this argument would help sway the regional government. The fact that Prime Minister Stanislaw Tillich is to be present at the event would suggest that their plan appears to have worked.
In reality, there was nowhere else to go for the German round of MotoGP. The other possible locations were the Lausitzring, Oschersleben and the Nurburgring. There were safety objections to both the Lausitzring and Oschersleben, despite the World Superbike series having raced there in the recent past, and the last time the German Grand Prix was held at the Nurburgring, attendance was very low indeed. The ADAC's arguments were also regularly being called into question: how an event that attracted nearly around a quarter of a million visitors over three days could end up losing money was something that nobody could satisfactorily explain. With so many powerful interests all pointing in the same direction, it was inevitable that the Sachsenring would remain on the calendar.
The news will make a lot of motorcycle racing fans very happy. The event is popular because of its cost, its location and its atmosphere, and despite the shortness of the track - arguably not particularly well suited to MotoGP bikes, especially the 1000cc ones - it produced some exciting racing.
Tomorrow, the full details will be announced, including the length of the agreement.