Sachsenring Off 2012 MotoGP Calendar, To Be Replaced By Lausitzring Or Nurburgring

In something of a surprise move, the German Automobile Club ADAC have announced that the German round of MotoGP will not be held at the Sachsenring in 2012, the German regional paper Freie Presse are reporting. At a press conference held at the East German circuit, which is owned by the ADAC, the organization told the media that the losses suffered by the Sachsenring were just too great to allow them to sustain the event. The event lost 600,000 euros in 2010, and despite cost-cutting to the tune of some 1.25 million euros and raising ticket prices by 10% this year, the ADAC was projecting a deficit of some 850,000 for 2012. The raising of the sanctioning fee demanded by Dorna from 2 million to nearly 4 million euros for 2012 meant that the ADAC no longer viewed the race as a viable prospect.

Although rumors that the German circuit could lose MotoGP had been circulating since April, there had been hope that an accommodation could be found. Back in April, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta told German-language weekly Speedweek that he expected to find a solution to the situation with the ADAC, in order to keep the race at the track. However, it does not appear that that has been possible, and as things stand at the moment, the German MotoGP round will be moved elsewhere.

The two prime candidates to replace the Sachsenring on the 2012 calendar - due to be published this week, although the date will be marked provisionally as "to be announced" - are the Lausitzring in Brandenburg, some 60 km northeast of the Sachsenring, or the Nurburgring, in the Eifel close to Germany's western border with Belgium. Both circuits have been used by the World Superbike series, though both also have their problems. The Lausitzring has had serious problems with water drainage, having been built on the top of an abandoned open-pit coal mine. There are also question marks over whether the Lausitzring would receive the necessary FIM safety approval, with a couple of places on the track posing potential hazards. The main objection to the Nurburgring is the lack of spectators which might be expected, the track losing out to the Sachsenring in 1998 because of poor attendance figures at the West German track. The fact that the Nurburgring is also situated in the heart of the Eifel, a place which is notorious for rain, will also militate against it.

Of the pair, the Lausitzring is more likely to get the nod, as the track is close to the heart of German motorcycle racing in Saxony, in the east of Germany. Interest in motorcycle racing in Germany's industrial heartland along the Rhine is limited when compared to the east, and the low cost of both food and accommodation makes eastern Germany an attractive destination as part of a longer vacation trip. Some 130,000 fans squeezed into the Sachsenring this year, the German MotoGP round attracting a total of 220,000 visitors over the three-day period. Attendance at the Lausitzring may not equal those numbers - the Eurospeedway Lausitz is something of a desolate place, built inside a tri-oval which forms part of a much larger comples -  but they would almost certainly be higher than at the Nurburgring.

All is not quite yet lost for the Sachsenring, though. There is still some hope that the regional government of Saxony, the Freistaat Sachsen, may step in to help cover the budget shortfall. Reports (such as those in Speedweek) suggest that the event is worth some 25 million euros to local businesses, and that the additional tax revenue that this provides could be an incentive for the regional government to subsidize the event. It is also possible that Dorna may agree either to reduce its sanctioning fee or offer the revenue from the track billboards or program sales to help keep the race at the Sachsenring. With German rider Stefan Bradl leading the Moto2 championship, and likely to move up to MotoGP next season, there is a very strong incentive for Dorna to stage a round of MotoGP in Germany. A German rider in MotoGP and a German event will also help boost income from the company's lucrative TV deals, which make up the bulk of its revenue. The date of the German MotoGP round has already been set, according to Speedweek - it will take place on July 8th, eight days after the Dutch TT at Assen - but it could be a while before the venue is settled.

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What makes you think they'd reach that speed at Hockenheim?

The first time that a 500 Grand Prix machine recorded a 200 mile per hour trap speed was in qualifying for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim in June of 1994 when Shinichi Itoh turned just over 200 miles per hour on the longest of the two back straights on the fuel injected version of the NSR 500.

if a 500 can hit 200 mph (321) I can see the 1000s hitting 350

The proper Hockenheim no longer exists, they tore it up and made a stupid F1 paperclip track out of it. Bloody tradgedy in my opinion, even worse than castrating Assen in the way they did.
Load it and weep...

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Every time I think about the idiots who chopped up Hockenheim to hold F1 every other year it just burns me! It's one thing for a redesign but they completely ripped up the asphalt of the old circuit. Why did they do that? Why not leave it for other forms of racing? German F3, DTM, etc. They just destroyed a piece a history unnecessarily if you ask me. They could have made a shorten configuration of the track for F1 but still keep the integrity of the original.

I'd quite like to see the MotoGP machines around the Nurburgring to be honest.

PS, you spelt it wrong in the title David.

Thanks, fixed it. It's almost automatic to type the ing without an R. All those gerunds...

Somehow it's hard for me to imagine that Nürburgring wouldn't see as much visitors as Sachsenring/Lausitzring.
Strategically the location is very good, it's near Belgium, the Netherlands, France isn't too far away, and some rather big german cities are not too far away as well.
It's much nearer for fans from Assen, Le Mans and Silverstone, only for fans from Brno Sachsenring/Lausitzring is nearer.
But I don't know, maybe people in that area really aren't that enthusiastic about motorcycle racing.
The reservations about the weather are certainly not without reason, there is a saying that if you can see the castle from the circuit, it's soon going to rain. If you can't see the castle, it's already raining. :D

DOUBLING the sanctioning fee? Oh ok, the track will then just as easily double the amount of paying spectators.

I wonder how much Dorna was raising the fee for each of the tracks?

With 220,000 visitors over the weekend, how do they run in the red?

I am from America so I need a reference, because at the prices we pay for admission alone, that would make the track owners a Mega Profit.

How much are tickets to enter Sachsenring for 1,2 and 3 days for the event?

220000 visitors does not mean they sold 220000 tickets. They count the same people every day that attend all 3 days as part of that total. Race day attendance is usually half again as big as Friday and Saturday, so if they had 60k on Friday and Saturday, probably had a bout a 100k on Sunday. 3/4ths or more of those were counted 3 times.

You dont suppose that a single day ticket is the same price as a 3-day ticket, do you?

I used to love Oschersleben back in the WSB days. Provided good racing. The Lausitzring isn't bad but why race on a Roval when better tracks are available? Also, I am not agaisnt anyone making a profit but when things gets greedy everyone loses out.

I attended WSBK's at the Lausitzring eleven years ago. What a dull place. Big converted oval with a giant grandstand overlooking everything but very remotely (sound familiar).

I've also done a couple of Sacshenring G.P's and love the place. A funky little undulating track where you can get close enough to feel a MotoGP machine ripping your insides out and a fantastic crowd atmosphere camping over the weekend.

Yes I really don't get it either. If Eccelstone - sorry Ezpeleta (I always get my garden gnomes mixed up) squeezes a track with the attendance numbers the Sachsenring achieves well beyond the point it's financial viable there's serious greed issues going on at Dorna. I thought we were living through times of austerity and cost cutting? How does a 100% increase in the sanctioning fee square with that?

Agreed. This just smacks of pure greed on the part of Dorna, to be honest. Never mind the worst recession in living memory, let's just double the sanctioning fee and laugh all the way to the bank.

The Sachsenring is far and away the best track in Germany, especially now that Hockenheim has been emasculated. So what does Dorna do? Makes the event financially unviable for Sachsenring and forces either Nurburgring (dull and wet) or Lausitzring (just plain dull) on us.

Thanks a bunch Dorna. Great business model you have there. Not.

Is it a case of an Iberian hand out to the wealthy Germans? The Germans should stand their ground and maybe Spain and Italy can support another GP to make up Dorna's bottom line. Good luck to them. Or are these other German tracks suddenly coming up with the new higher sanctioning fee?

Noooooooooo!!! Poor form by Dorna. You have a great venue with a unique track where attendance sells out and the layout of the track always lays claim to one of the best races of the year and you financially run them into the ground?? Dumb move.

Perfect opportunity to have another US sponsored race here in the states instead of Europe to build the awareness and fan base of MotoGP :D

Seems to me like Dorna are invoking darwinism into the GP tracks to try and keep the most popular. I assume the sanctioning fee is the same for all tracks? If so, why only Sachsenring that can't afford it? And again if so, how can Spain support 3 (or is it 4 now?) races? I thought they were in a major recession?

Still don't like to see the venue for the closest race of 2011 go off the calendar.

My understanding is that the sanctioning fee varies from track to track and country to country.

Add to that the German round always being well attended and I think it's a case of plain old greed, and nothing to do with getting rid of unpopular tracks such as Estoril.

David I would be very interested to see a 2012 provisional calendar that also lists each circuits sanctioning fee plus its 2011 attendance and profit/loss balance. Perhaps you can then attempt to analyse why Dorna are putting the squeeze on circuits in the midst of this recession? Are all circuits being treated equally and which ones are being propped up by their regional governments? Is this survival of the fittest or the fattest?

I guess that it's not the country itself ponying up the money in many cases, but the sponsorships themselves which are. So in Spain, the corporations know that tons of people are coming, tons of people will be watching on TV, so they pay a lot up front which the track organizers then fork over to Dorna for the sanctioning fee.

This might be different in Germany, where the corporations just aren't so willing to to offer as much?

As already mentioned, as if chopping up the old Hockenheim wasn't bad enough taking a track that has been building in popularity and turning into a real historic calendar event is horrible. I may be over stating this, but racing depend on some stability, for lack of a better term. Look, everyone was so please to see Silverstone come back. Not so much because it is a great track but because it has historical value. Not every track in every country can claim that. It is organic and shouldn't be toyed with. The result can lead to a bigger economic disaster than running the Sachsenring as it stands.

First off David thanks for all the great work from you and your team. I've been lurking even quite a while before the slight site name change, but never posted.

Moving on, I think it's safe to say that Dorna has no interest in what we the fans enjoy about this sport. What a huge slap in the face. Sachsenring generally enjoys some of the best camera work of the year(the speed of the bikes actually seems to come across somewhat, I can only imagine the waterfall in person). As an American who has only been to Laguna(70 miles from home!),Sachsenring was on a very short list of tracks I planned to visit in the future. I've only ever heard great things about the facility (sans weather :) ) and atmosphere over the entire weekend.

I'm sorry if this was already answered, but is there any info out there relating to the fees imposed on other tracks for next year or even the percentage of increase?

Personally I don't think Sachsenring should be counted out just yet ... Dorna are clearly posturing for big bucks next year but if Lausitzring or Nurburgring don't want to pay those fees either then what? No GP in Germany?! I just can't see it happening with Bradl being a huge draw in Germany. Don't be surprised if and when you hear that Sachsenring is once again back on the calendar.

They could call it the German Grand Prix like San Marino has theirs outside the border.

Or too soon for the next German invasion? (too soon?!)

I like your thinking :) Spa would be a fantastic track to add to the calendar. I've heard the weather can be a little unpredictable but the circuit itself is supposedly very popular with fans and drivers.