Indianapolis Motor Speedway Close To Extending MotoGP Deal

MotoGP's history at Indianapolis got off to a tempestuous start, quite literally. The inaugural Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix in 2008 took place in the shadow of Hurricane Ike, but despite the storm, and the global financial meltdown, the race has had a fairly strong attendance for the past two years, with 91,000 paying customers in '08, dropping to just over 75,000 last year, in the midst of the global recession. 2010, however, is the last year of Indianapolis' three-year contract to stage a MotoGP event, and as yet, no announcements about the future of the race have been made.

That could all change over the next few days. The Indianapolis Star is reporting that the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is close to signing an extension with Dorna to continue to stage a MotoGP event in 2011, and maybe beyond. According to the Indy Star, IMS CEO Jeff Belskus believes that there are "a couple of unresolved issues" to overcome, but Belskus is confident that a new deal will be announced before the end of the weekend.

It is an open secret that Dorna is keen to have two MotoGP rounds in the US. But to keep costs in hand, it is important to have those two races run without an intervening return trip to Europe, saving on travel. The most likely scenario - given the vast distances involved in travelling from Laguna Seca to Indianapolis - is that the two races will take place with either one or possibly two weekends between them, to allow the many tons of equipment that organizing a MotoGP requires to be shipped overland from California to Indianapolis - or vice versa.

Scheduling is going to be key to this deal: with NASCAR due to run the Brickyard 400 on July 31st, that prevents Indy and Laguna Seca from being run back-to-back, if Laguna Seca is to retain its traditional spot at the end of July. The Indianapolis MotoGP round could alternatively be scheduled as the replacement for Brno in mid-August, with the Czech Grand Prix moving to a couple of weeks later in the season. But the puzzling together of the 2011 MotoGP schedule has a number of other key elements, starting with the timing of the Qatar opener, including the replacement of the Aragon round - itself a temporary replacement this season for the Hungarian race lost to financial difficulties - going on to consider the timing of the three Asian and Australian flyaway rounds, and including the possibility of adding a MotoGP round in Abu Dhabi. Under normal circumstances, the 2011 provisional schedule would have been released already, but these complications have delayed that announcement for the next few weeks.

Dorna faces a second problem in their desire to have two MotoGP rounds in America. Despite having a number of famous and spectacular racetracks, the US has a distinct lack of FIM homologated tracks suitable for World Championship motorcycle racing. Apart from Indy and Laguna, there's only Miller Motorsports Park that could stage a MotoGP round without any problems, the other circuits all having issues with runoff, safety and location. World Superbikes' presence at Miller make the chances of MotoGP going there slim, as does the fact that Utah is too close to Laguna Seca's core West Coast audience. Dorna really requires a circuit within reach of large audiences on both the East and the West Coasts of the US, which narrows down an already slim field. Laguna Seca and Indianapolis Motor Speedway are probably the best options that Dorna currently has.

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That would be pretty amazing if Dorna could pull off back-2-back rounds in US.

Having been to Laguna Seca I have to say it's a pain to get to, but it is a nice track to spectate.

I don't understand why Indy is so important. Yes it has history... as an oval track. The infield is flat as a pancake... it's like a go-kart track. Miller would be a much better venue... WSBK or not. It's not like Motogp doesn't share other tracks with WSBK. I like comparing laptimes between the two, but that's probably exactly what the two series don't like.

Surely to race at Miller would be more fun. But - would you rather have a win at Miller or Indy on your resume'? You're grandchildren will know where Indy is but I doubt they will have a clue where Utaw is.

History and tradition.

Indy is a great venue. It's more fan friendly then any track I've visited on the continent and easily accessable to anyone. Spectator infield viewing is top notch. The stands aren't bad either. Laguna is a great venue as well, and a most excellent destination for vacationing. But back to back MotoGP dates would be a bad plan. What's more important; fan participation or saving a few bucks on the team transportation budget?

I guess it isnt safe enough, but Barber Motorsports Park is beautiful and the track looks wide and flowing. Its location is geographically attractive as well.

Although it is the best track I have ridden on, MotoGP bikes wouldn't get out of 3rd gear on that track. Its not that long either.

Road America would be a MotoGP great track if not for the money needed to make it FIA compliant.


Very strange!

I can't wait to get people from all over the world down here. If they think Colin Edwards is a redneck, just wait until they drive about 20 minutes outside of Austin. It's not all cowboys and bbq, but you certainly don't need to look very far. Lockhart, TX is a good example.

In reality, Austin has been pretty good at hosting events. The SXSW festival is probably the biggest thing Austin does annually.

I have a great level of respect for how IMS has put on the races. The town embraces motorsports. However, it's not right for MotoGP to run inside a flat oval.

I think it's more than just a little wrong to call Colin a "redneck" and to be talking smack about Texas. I'm from California and I still think Texas is a little more mainstream than a lot of places in the USA. Look no further than the folks at AF-1 Racing in New Braunfels, Texas (not too far from Austin). That should be enough to get your thought process inline with the reality of motorcycle racing in Texas.

There is a lot more to Texas than most people think, and it's great to hear someone on the West Coast recognize that. Thanks. Motorcycling is strong here, racing and otherwise. We have several tracks and some great club races in the CMRA series. The pedigree of racers is probably only second to California.

I've been a Texas resident for over 7 years and I love it here. My wife is a native of Austin, as well. This is a great state that surprises a lot of people when they visit. So, I say redneck with a smile and tongue in cheek - guess I should have used quotes or something. It's not really a negative term here in TX. A lot of my customers are rednecks - they call themselves that. They are wonderful people who love their family, hunting, fishing, food, music, beer, and more. Many of the same qualities that CE2 seems to exude in a very positive way.

Think of it this way, and being in California you probably see this a lot. Those who come to this state looking for the Texas from movies/TV/media will find it. Those who take some time to get past the tourist stops will be pleasantly surprised by the richness of the state and its people, pretty much like everywhere in the world.

If you do get to visit, I'd be happy to give you some great spots to visit or roads to ride. Enjoy the races!