When the cancellation of the Hungary round was finally officially confirmed, and the race scheduled for the Balatonring was awarded to the spectacular Motorland Aragon circuit, Dorna faced a barrage of criticism that the race had gone to another circuit in Spain. The Iberian nation is undoubtedly the beating heart of MotoGP, but to have four of the eighteen races there was far too much of a good thing, it was felt.
Dorna has taken this criticism to heart, it seems, as a brand new nation is to be added to MotoGP's international character. Today, speaking exclusively to MotoMatters.com, Dorna's head of Scandinavian Racing Promotion Pablo Inocente confirmed that a round is to be added to the calendar in Iceland, as part of an offensive to promote the sport in Europe's northern reaches. The race is to take part at a brand new track, to be built at Grímsvötn, east of the capital Reykjavik.
Iceland was selected to host a MotoGP race because of the nation's love affair with the combustion engine. Icelanders are notorious petrolheads, though much of their racing has so far been done in the country's vast volcanic hinterland, and been cross country and off road. The decision to build a permanent circuit was part of an effort to wean the local populace off the dirt and confine the environmental damage to a single location, Iceland's Minister For Sport and Tourism, Loki Fárbautison explained. For Dorna, the location of the circuit - spanning the Transatlantic Continental Rift where Europe and America are drifting away from each other - was both symbolic and practical. "We now have a race taking part not in one, but in two continents simultaneously," Dorna's Inocente proudly affirmed.
The race is to be special in more than just one way, however. For the Icelandic GP is to become just the second night race on the calendar, joining Qatar as a floodlit spectacular. The race - scheduled to take place on June 24th - will be run under the lights at 10pm local time. Iceland intends to use the night race as a showcase for its potential as an energy powerhouse, using geothermal power extracted from Iceland's volcanoes to light up the night sky as a demonstration of its untapped reserves.
UPDATED ON APRIL 2ND
As most people have already guessed, this story was an April Fool's prank. We hope nobody went ahead and started booking flights ...