The Choice Facing Valencia: A New Surface Or A New Track Layout

Valencia has been a permanent fixture on the MotoGP calendar since the track was completed in 1999, but when the MotoGP riders return to the Circuit Ricardo Tormo for the final round of the 2012 MotoGP season, they could be coming to a radically different circuit. According to Valencia newspaper El Mercantil Valenciano, the management of the circuit intends to put forward a proposal to completely change a large part of the track layout at the next meeting of the Administration Council, the public body that oversees the track, in December 14th of this year. If that proposal is rejected, they will demand that the track is resurfaced as an urgent priority.

The track was supposed to have been resurfaced in 2011 - the necessity of which was made evident by the treacherous conditions in the wet at the Valencia MotoGP round in early November, with the MotoGP riders complaining about the surface and demanding it receive new asphalt - but a lack of funds left the management unable to carry out the required work. The financial shortfall was put down to the massive cost of staging the Formula One Grand Prix, held on a street circuit around the port area of the city of Valencia, for which the organizers pay an annual fee of 17 million euros a year. The F1 Grand Prix had already delayed the track redesign at Ricardo Tormo, the project first being mooted back in 2004, shortly before the city council of Valencia started negotiations to stage the F1 race.

Now, the Administration Council has no choice: they will either have to spend some 5 million euros on the new design, or between 850,000 and 1.5 million euros on resurfacing the existing layout, with the higher of the two resurfacing amounts including improvements to runoff in three areas. If the resurfacing is approved, the work is to be carried out in June, Levante EMV reports.

The proposed track layout (as shown here on the Levante EMV website) appears to have several interesting improvements, but it would also see a major loss. The track would be completely unchanged from the original layout (image here, taken from the website of trackday organizer Focused Events) from Turn 14, the final corner, through to Turn 4, the first of the right handers. The only changes here would be to improve and widen the pit lane, in the hope of attracting Formula One back to the circuit as a testing venue. From Turn 4, the track would run nearly straight - with only a little flick reminiscent of Assen's magnificent Hoge Heide - down to a section that is currently used to park the trucks during the MotoGP event, before turning back to perform a long loop roughly where the current Turn 9 is. Here it will loop back on itself to run up to the current Turn 6, before running down through a couple of fast left handers to a chicane placed right in the middle of what is at present Turn 13. After that chicane, it is a short run back to Turn 14, and on to the front straight again.

The loss of Turn 13 would be widely lamented. That immensely long left hander, rising up over the brow of a hill before plunging down to the final turn, is a spectacular place to watch, seeing the bikes getting sideways as they slide all the way over the hill before tightening up for the final corner. But the new layout would allow the track to be longer, as well as offering a couple of other fast corners to take its place.

Circuit Director Julio Garcia told Levante EMV that he will be pushing the Administration Council to approve the project to redesign the circuit layout. If they cannot find the funding for that project, then he will demand that the track be completely resurfaced at the very minimum, Garcia said. Whatever the outcome, the riders will see their wishes granted.

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...given the current financial situation in Spain, it will be the cheapest option?

Turn 13 is the most interesting part of that track. I find it otherwise clinical. Never been there though, so I'm no expert.

They "find" the money they want for the redesign