A cursory glance at sales of new motorcycles provides an interesting insight into exactly where the future of motorcycling lies. Though its traditional home is Europe, North America and Australia, those markets are rapidly becoming just a tiny part of total motorcycle sales, with Asia claiming a rapidly expanding share of the global market. The recent marketing tours by Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi around India, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand underline exactly how important these markets are to Yamaha and the rest of the Japanese manufacturers.
As part of that Asian expansion, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta is keen to expand the number of MotoGP races on the continent, which have dropped to just two after the demise of the unloved Chinese Grand Prix at Shanghai. As a consequence, Ezpeleta has been working with the authorities in Singapore to bring MotoGP to the Asian city state, to be held at a new track which is scheduled to be built not far from Singapore's Changi airport. But progress of the track has been glacial, causing Ezpeleta to vent his frustration in an interview with the Singaporean media company MediaCorp. "For two years, I have been hearing about the Changi permanent track," Ezpeleta told Today Online, "but till now I don't know who is going to build it or when it will be ready".
Plans for the track locate it on a 20 hectare (50 acre) plot of land, but both the location and the franchise to run the track have yet to be decided. The Singapore Sports Council is looking at doubling the size of the site, and is due to make a decision on who will run the track in the near future. The track, originally planned to be between 2.5 and 3.5 kilometers long, would need to be closer to 5km if it is to host the Singapore Formula One Grand Prix which is currently held on a street circuit. The FIM track regulations also specify a minimum length of 3.5 km, and so if both MotoGP and Formula One are to come to the circuit, the track will need to be longer than is currently allowed for.
These delays are what have frustrated the Dorna CEO's plans for an extra Asian MotoGP race. Once the circuit is under construction, and an organization appointed to run the track, Carmelo Ezpeleta will have a party that he can negotiate with. Until that structure is in place, plans for a 19th race and an added round in Asia have to be put on hold.