Dorna's Asian Expansion Frustrated By Singapore Track Delays

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.

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I highly doubt Ezpeleta is keen to move into emerging markets in the East. FOTA have the ability to dictate that certain rounds are raced in markets they like, even if those markets are particularly economically friendly for F1. I'm sure the MSMA have similar privileges.

All of Dorna's TV money is coming from Europe. Why the hell would Ezpeleta want to stage a race at 3am GMT? For the ratings? Ezpeleta isn't making billion dollar sweetheart deals with government officials AFAIK so this isn't an Ecclestone-style play.

Carmelo's frustration is b/c he is probably required to hold a certain number of events in markets dictated by the MSMA. He couldn't care less about Singapore, but he's on an MSMA crusade to help them sell bikes.

If Ezpeleta had it his way, MotoGP would drive circles around Europe. The bikes would be cheap and fast.

Singapore is small......coughing up land for a track is like getting donations from a miser, lol.

The only "Big track" around Singapore would be Sepang. Tuas Circuit and Johor Circuit (Malaysia Pasir Gudang) are circuits not more than 4km, and heck, we even used to race around a carpark, ha ha.

This "track", we had heard it more than 5 yrs ago, and with the casinos undergoing, it will be a dream to see the excavator starts it's engine. I will believe when it actually gets build, but it's not gonna happen anytime soon I guess.

I am happy that we have a little Tuas circuit so that we no longer have to race in a carpark :)

Bring Francorchamps back in the picture ! (I know, the circuit is "only" F1 approved and would need massive work done to make it safe for MotoGP bikes but still it would be grant to go back to such a splendid and vibey circuit). And many, many people would come !