Argentina MotoGP Round Set To Be Canceled?

Even before the Argentinian round of MotoGP had been officially added to the calendar, the race has been in doubt. The race, provisionally scheduled to take place on April 14th next year at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit, has been caught in the crossfire between the Argentinian government and Repsol, over the former nationalizing Repsol YPF, the Argentinian arm of the Spanish petroleum giant.

Now, it looks as if the race is about to be canceled officially. According to Damià Aguilar, MotoGP reporter for Catalunya Radio, the Argentinian GP is to taken off the calendar, with an official announcement due to be made on Friday. The cancellation of the race will leave a large gap between the first race of the season at Qatar, scheduled for March 31st, and the second race at Austin, Texas, booked three weeks later on April 21st.  To close up that gap, Qatar will be moved up a week and be held on April 7th instead, leaving just two weeks between the first two races.

The Argentinian race has been surrounded by controversy from the start. Even at the official presentation back in June, the tourism minister for the Santiago del Estero province had to offer reassurances that it would be safe for Repsol staff to visit the track. "The only danger to them is if they go too fast in the corners and crash," the minister joked, but Repsol staff have not been reassured. Dorna was forced to turn to the Spanish ministry of foreign affairs to ask for official advice, and so far, the Spanish government's advice on travel to Argentina for Repsol staff has been negative. Dorna and FIM staff visited the track this week, commenting positively on the progress made at the circuit, but it appears that the state of the track will not be the final determining factor.

Though no official statement has been made on the situation, it seems almost inevitable that the race is not to go ahead. It is a tragedy for motorcycle racing that the Argentinian MotoGP round should be a victim of a political battle about something almost entirely unrelated to the sport. Given that the circuit has an agreement to host a race for three years, it must be hoped that the situation can be resolved sufficiently for MotoGP to visit the Argentina. Dorna is acutely aware of the need to expand out of Europe and into South America and Southeast Asia, and having its first foray into South America canceled due to politics is a sensitive blow.

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If it is indeed true that the Argentinian round of the 2013 MotoGP championship is cancelled, it would be wonderful to have India replace Argentina on the calender. Before Dorna became in charge of both MotoGP and WSBK Infront managed to beat Dorna and sign with the BIC track in India, a move that angered Dorna. Now that both championships are under one umbrella (of Dorna) I see no reason why Dorna cannot negotiate with BIC to hold a race in India. In fact, the climate at Delhi at that time (March, April) is quite bearable and will be good for the racers as well. Jorge Lorenzo rode on the track (albeit on a tiddly little Yamaha 150cc) and came up with the idea that it was a good track to race on. Maybe the FMSCI (the apex body of Motorsport in India with Vicky Chandok as President) can see the light and start negotiations with Dorna. That would be great India, for the championship and for the manufacturers since the race will be held in a country that is poised to become the biggest motorcycle market very soon.

Ive been following this saga since April when news broke of the nationalization. Its really disappointing and wont end well for anyone, Argentina or Repsol, but most importantly, it wont effect the people of Argentina at all, which was the reason given for the take over. But I digress.

And this isnt really MotoGP's first foray into South America. They used to have GPs in Brasil. Id look back there if they want to get a GP in South America.

As unpopular as it may be I fully support the (assumed) abandonment of Argentina. Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else. Repsol risk their capital to meet their customer's needs through voltunary trade. If Argentina wants to confiscate private property to shore up their books then I am glad they will not be supported.

On the other hand, Dorna doesn't exactly have a reputation for organisational brilliance so the probability of another race elsewhere in any reasonable time frame is thin indeed. Is there still a backup track? Or was it just a pretense to get Aragon - and yet another Spanish round - on the tour?

No-one seriously thought the race in Argentina would happen, did they? How could it when the Government has seized, without compensation, the entire oil and gas assets of the sport's highest profile and longest serving sponsor in modern times? But there's one thing that all fans can rely on - the MotoMatters 2013 calendar. David is tweeting that he is in the process of choosing the pics. It'll be be the last with Casey and with Valentino on red. And I can't wait. But how to handle the Argentina date? David, can you confirm things are on track for publication in good time for Christmas, please?

Calendar hadn't been finalized, and I had taken the cancelation and the moving of the Qatar date into account. So far, every year we've produced this calendar, they've changed the schedule after publication. This year, we're behind in our schedule and could get it right! It should be ready in plenty of time for Christmas, though...

are a fact of life. By moving into 'developing' markets it needs to be recognised that development is going to be in more than just motorcycles. Dorna probably need to get flexible in the planning and perhaps offer some countries good deals if they act as standby for such events.
I doubt Spain can afford the satellite TV fee, never mind the actual race. Unless Repsol pick up the tab and call it the 'Argentinian GP'of course!
South Africa might be nice......perhaps Repsol could make a point and some friends there...
Brazil seems to be really motoring in many areas at present and it’s a hell of a lot more democratic than Argentina. F1 seems quite stable there, so MGP could follow their lead perhaps...
However, why cannot Honda (a bit like Ducati) just race under their banner and let it be known that Repsol are not part of their team for that race? The commentators etc can make the audience aware, so Repsol would not lose out in that way. Might even do something for proper governance in Argentina....

This isnt about something as simple as a country having a law that bans tobacco advertising. This is about a national government, using its might and its power to simply take something from a group of private individuals and not return them a fair market value simply because they dont have to. This is about stealing. The Argentine govt simply decided one day that they now own Repsol YPG and that the shares issued to the Spanish arm of Repsol are null and void. All of the time, effort, research and ultimately the money that Repsol brought into Argentina is now property of the Argentine govt with a simple declaration. This isnt even in the same universe as tobacco advertising laws.

In other financial news, shares of Repsol YPG are down 70% since this was announced in April and Argentina is (rightfully) having trouble raising the $25 million in investment to open up the reserves that were found. When you just steal something, people generally dont want to do business with you. But you know... This was going to directly effect Argentina's oil costs. Even though oil is traded on a GLOBAL market. So unless they pump so much oil to flood the market, it wont achieve their desired goal of lowering domestic oil prices.

Ive simplified it, but thats a basic understanding of what has happened for those who arent up on the situation.

Not bothered where we see the races, but now we have to wait a week longer before we see the guys on track again :(