2014 MotoGP Calendar: Brazil In, Laguna Out?

The 2014 MotoGP calendar could see the first steps in a long process to transform Grand Prix motorcycle racing from a Eurocentric series to a truly international world championship. Today, Dorna CEO held a press conference in Brazil to announce that MotoGP could make a return to that South American country as early as late 2014. The event would be held at the Autodromo Nelson Piquet de Brasilia, the motorcycle circuit in the capital city of Brazil, and has been scheduled to take place in the second half of the 2014 season. That date is still very far from certain, however, as the track is still subject to safety homologation by the FIM for Grand Prix motorcycle racing.

If the race goes ahead - and the facilities at the circuit are believed to need a lot of work to bring them up to MotoGP standard, though there appear to be few physical obstacles to moving walls back and creating the necessary runoff required - then it will join the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina as the second South American race on the calendar, giving a much more international feel to the MotoGP series. The expansion into Central and South America is seen as crucial to the future of the sport, as all forms of motor sport are extremely popular in the region. The inclusion of Colombian rider Yonny Hernandez in the premier class provided a boost for the visibility of the series in the region, and the hope is that by adding Argentina and Brazil to the calendar, more local talent can be cultivated. The region is also a key market for the Japanese motorcycle manufacturers.

The addition of both Brazil and Argentina to the calendar creates a major headache for the schedule. While a 19 race calendar is just about acceptable to the riders and factories, having 20 races on the calendar would start to create severe logistical and technical challenges. Engine limits in all three Grand Prix classes mean that the reliability of the engines would be severely tested, especially for the MSMA entries in MotoGP, which are allowed just 5 engines to last an entire season. As a result, at least one event is likely to be cut from next year's schedule,

Prime candidate to be dropped is Laguna Seca, according to British publication MCN. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said last year, when the contracts with the Austin circuit were signed, that three US rounds on the calendar was one too many. It had long been assumed that Indianapolis would be the race to be dropped, but a deal announced on Saturday secured the event for 2014, with talks ongoing about a long-term extension to that deal. The long-term contract with Austin leaves only Laguna Seca as the race which could be dropped.

Though the loss of Laguna Seca would be deeply unpopular - the circuit has gained an iconic status among motorcycle racing fans, and is a firm favorite with almost everyone in the paddock - it is the logical choice for a US race to be dropped. There have always been safety concerns about the circuit - the closeness of the wall at several points along the track from Turn 4 all the way up to the Corkscrew - and the facilities are severely lacking for a Grand Prix circuit. The lack of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes is also seen as a disadvantage, but Laguna Seca is not believed to be able to hike in sanctioning fee which would be necessary to cover the cost of flying the support classes to the circuit. Spectator numbers also dropped significantly between 2012 and 2013, falling from 52,677 on race day in 2012 to 46,256 in 2013, the three-day totals falling from 137,221 to 118,696. In contrast, the race day total at Indianapolis fell from 65,372 to 60,327, while throughout the European rounds held so far, attendance has generally increased by between 5 and 10%.

The biggest problem with dropping Laguna Seca would be its strategic location, right in the heart of West Coast motorcycle culture, situated as it is a couple of hours south of the Bay Area around San Francicso. But though the track enjoys an iconic status with existing bike fans, it is peripheral to mainstream US motor sports culture. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a household name among ordinary Americans, and Dorna believes that being linked to such an important venue will help them to expand the series' popularity in North America.

Of course, that still leaves MotoGP with four races in Spain. Jerez has a contract for 2014 and 2015, while Aragon, Barcelona and Valencia all have contracts until 2016. However, only funding for Aragon is completely secure, though the Junta de Andalucia is also keen to retain Jerez on the calendar. That leaves Barcelona and Valencia, with the latter the most likely to be dropped. Barcelona is the home base of Dorna, the Spanish owners of MotoGP, and the regional council is trying to find a way to retain the race. The financial situation of Valencia is much more perilous, and coupled with falling attendances for the final race of the season, it is becoming increasingly unsustainable as an event. There are no signs that any of the Spanish races will be dropped for 2014, but it is unlikely that the country will continue to have four races beyond next season.

With South America now much better catered for, Dorna's next target is Asia. Both the MotoGP organizers and the motorcycle manufacturers are very keen to race in the region, as it is a massive market both in terms of TV audiences and motorcycle sales. MotoGP is keen to make the trip to India, though the experience of both the World Superbike series and Formula One suggest it is very difficult to hold an international motor sports event in the country at the moment, as a range of bureaucratic difficults make it an expensive logistical challenge. Dorna is also looking at another circuit in Malaysia, a track in Thailand, and an as yet unnamed project in Indonesia as circuits to host an extra Asian round of MotoGP, but formidable financial and political difficulties still remain. Races will take place in the region in the near future, but it is not yet clear exactly where that will be. 

Though the loss of Laguna Seca will be widely mourned, and any expansion into Asia will mean the loss of more venues in Europe, potentially at some of its more iconic circuits, the move to make MotoGP a more international series will be welcomed. It is, after all, supposed to be a World Championship.

~~~ UPDATE ~~~

Laguna Seca General Manager Gill Campbell denied to venerable US publication Cycle News that there was any question of Laguna Seca being dropped for 2014. "We have a contract through 2014 and we’ll be negotiating our future contract within the next year. It doesn’t affect us at all – we’re not going anywhere," she told Cycle News.

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Drop Laguna and keep Indy? David, what do the riders & teams think of Laguna vs Indy? As far as I'm concerned, the Indy track sucks...no character, charm, or anything. It's a dull track compared to Laguna, but what do I know!

One of the reasons for the drop in attendance at Laguna is the fact that they have completely stopped promoting the race. There is very little media attention and very few, if any off track activities anymore.

In addition you have the local police and hotels whom think the race is their own personal piggy bank, though I have heard less complaints about this over the last two years.

That said, how can MotoGP ignore the West Coast of the US?

Obviously Dorna is running a business and so attendance and revenue basically dictate the rest, but as a fan who religiously attends the MotoGP race in Laguna each year, I would be devastated if they removed it from the calendar. For those of us on the West Coast, it's a spectacular experience and a magical place. Not to mention that geographically it's in a great location and we very much enjoy the week long motorcycle trip that we take to get there.

Are the facilities really lacking? From the spectator side I have never had that impression, but perhaps from the participant/team side it's different?

I am no expert on market groups or anything of that matter, but it just baffles me that MotoGP has a lackluster turnout in such a central area of the west coast given the amount of potential there. Our club level racing and recreational riding seems as popular as ever from what I can tell, but maybe I have the rose colored lenses in my sunglasses again...

Is how JB once described it. Short, bumpy, dangerous, with inadequate facilities, and only catering for a single category. The corkscrew is a unique attraction, but it hardly makes up for the negatives. Its time has passed.

Went to Laguna last year and had fun. Things didn't align schedule-wise this year, but was hoping to go back next year. Seems like it's rarely good when the news affects you...

It's about 1200km from Valencia to Le Mans. About 700km from Le Mans to Silverstone. About 1100km from Mugello to the Sachsenring. That's four countries.

It's about 2700km from Laguna Seca to the Circuit of the Americas. It may be three rounds in the U.S., but it's not like any one geographic area here is overserved...

I know that's a *long* way from the central consideration, but I'm both personally bummed and a bit confused that the U.S.'s West coast would lose out.

Dorna missed the point. Laguna isn't peripheral to U.S. motorsport culture, motorcycle road racing is peripheral to U.S. motorsport culture. Laguna Seca is at ground zero of the U.S. motorcycle road racing culture. And that would be the tragedy of this decision.

What a sad state of affairs. I thought Indy had a contract up to and including 2014 and they were not planning to renew after that because of poor attendance which with Austin in the mix was fine (with me anyhow :)) but dropping Laguna in favor of Indy ... ouch.

Then again, safety is important as is making money I guess. I generally go to two races a year so I guess it's Austin and Spain or Portugal next year which doesn't suck too badly plus it's one more first for Marquez - last person to win at Laguna Seca ..

I knew at some point this was going to come up. Indy has supreme facilities and is better for business. Laguna does not compare to other new tracks or tracks in Europe that can sometimes get funding from the Country it is in.

I am all for a race being back in Brazil. It is Brazil. I bet the whole paddock does not mind Brazil even with minimal upgrades.

Do not want Laguna to go away. It is a home circuit for me. Love it. I wish they could afford to upgrade the paddock area. But like someone else said. Dorna is running a business. And from a Business perspective I can understand it.

I hope they're not serious about it, that circuit looks half abandoned and far from being able to receive such an event (structures and safety wise).

At least looking at a forum thread out there, the pics are pretty shocking:


Maybe they can pump a LOT of money in and make the circuit ready in time(?) but it makes one wonder... why not using (or adapting) instead the Autodromo of Interlagos, which is used in Formula 1 ?

Weren't there riots in Brazil this year because of the money the state was spending on preparing for the World Cup next year? That circuit will need much the same.

Thanks for the link, Luc.

These appear to be photos of the current state of the track. If that is correct, then any complaint of Laguna concerning the facilities is misplaced. In comparison, as it stands, Laguna, however allegedly disagreeable, is streets ahead.

I'm not sure the Brasilia circuit is even fit for a track day let alone international motor race. I cannot see that it could be adapted in time for next season.

There may be compelling reasons not to increase the number of rounds but the primary reason should certainly not be a rule that is largely the desire of just one factory and has many other negative consequences, not least, an apparent barrier to new manufacturers joining the sport.

Draw a 6 hour driving distance circle @ Indy and you hit alot of the US. Do the same for Austin and your still not out of Texas. Laguna? Your in the ocean.

We just got back from Indy after our 6th yr. The MotoGP event is promoted everywhere, from CBR250's surrounded by Red Bulls at the local supermarkets, to the local TV station that does weather LIVE from the track. The newspapers are flooded with MotoGP coverage. There are a ton of bikes with out of state plates and a ton with Canadian plates. How many License plates from Mexico were there at Austin?

And the attendence numbers are for the paid tickets, kids 12 and under are free ALL 3 days!! And you can bring in your own beer and food, and leave the track and get back in. Can you do that at the other 2 rounds? I heard nothing but horror stories this past weekend from guys who went to Austin.

Indy is the Midwest, year in and year out they will show up. When you leave Laguna or Austin do workers at the race track THANK YOU for comming and hope to see you next year?

The three major populations centers are the Northeast, the California Coast (+Phoenix), and the Texas Triangle (DFW, Houston, San Antonio).

Indy is the farthest from its target market, and the motorcycle market is probably not as strong as Texas and California.

Your opening point is actually an argument against Indy.

Yeah, you can bring your own food and beer to Laguna. And compared to Indy, even the small Laguna track seems paved in gold.

And compared to California and Texas the mid-west is a dead weight on the US motorcycle market. California and Texas alone probably sell double the entire midwest in the sportbike market. Let's face it, motorcycle racing in the US is only even close to "big" in the West and the South.

Am I the only one who thinks Dorna were complete idiots to sign a long-term deal with COTA before they'd even seen ONE race run there? Why on earth would you do that? As nice as the track is, it didn't exactly lend itself to great racing. The only thing the race had to recommend it was Marquez's first victory; other than that it was a pretty spaced-out snooze fest. They didn't exactly light the world on fire with attendance, either. 60,000 or so in their first year? Indy equaled that this year, and had what, 90,000 in their first year in the remnants of a hurricane? I really don't think any of the US races draw much from the other's attendance - they're simply too far apart. Austin should be the race to go but Dorna painted themselves into a corner.

But I'll believe the Brazil race when I see the flag drop. How many other races have we seen aborted over the past few years? What happened to India? Hungary?

I think this is a storm in a teacup! Carmelo seems to have taken a page out of Bernie Ecclestone's book when it comes to negotiating with the circuits!

Whenever Bernie wants to raise the sanctioning fee or speed up the negotiations with a particular circuit he would plant a rumor or give a quote to a journo (who also will jolly well know about the story's lack of credibility) saying so and so circuit will be replaced by another circuit which will be so far fetched as holding a race in the moon! (eg: Turkey replacing Silverstone or the annual "Melbourne is out" rumor!)
In the end when the objectives are met, the rumor dies in this 24 hour sports news cycle machine!

Its interesting that every circuit that Carmelo has mentioned in the last year as being in danger ended up being confirmed! Anybody find the coincidence of the Laguna threat coming in the same weekend as Indy renegotiated a contract suspicious? I think the most plausible reason is that having looked at Indy's business model and sanctioning fee in comparison to Laguna, Carmelo thinks they can afford to pay more! Hence the threat........

Like i said in the beginning, storm in a teacup!

However, when I went in 2012, my experience was a bit underwhelming. The tiny towns around Laguna can barely support the patronage-- I can't imagine any more people than were there in 2012. The crappy little motels in the vicinity that normally charge $85 a night charged and average of $300 a night when I booked in February of 2012. There are VERY limited entrances/exits into/out of the venue and the hillside parking is a bit of a joke (take your mountaineering gear). Leaving after the main event on race day is at least a 2 hour affair. Apparently the police love the event because riders from LA to SF fill their ticket books that weekend. I wasn't on a bike, but I've heard stories of ticket carnage. The facility is not large enough to house the other GP classes, and nobody seemed to watch the AMA race when I was there.

That said, the track seems more beloved by the racers than Indy and the "corkscrew" is an amazing feature of the track and looks great on TV - especially on the first lap. I love the layout of the track and there's no denying the Monterey countryside is amazingly beautiful.

It's too bad CA doesn't have a more suitable GP track with just as much "charm" as Laguna.

I live 25km from the racetrack in Brasilia, raced there the first time back in 1985 and have been involved in motorcycle racing in this country since; as a rider, tuner, team owner, you name it. As in disrepair as the racetrack in Brasilia is, it is still much safer than the one in Sao Paulo, since there are no wall lined turns here. In all these years, there has been one fatality in Brasilia, that sadly happened this year. A rider highsided her CBR 600, the bike was thrown up into the air and, tragically, landed on her head and chest, causing severe injuries, from which she passed away a few days later. There have been several serious accidents, some of them fatal, in Interlagos, where riders have hit walls and gotten hurt. It will take a lot of money to get the racetrack ready, but there is plenty of room to move guard-rails and replace the paddock area with something GP worthy.

This worries me. I love this race as it never disappoints, Monterey is awesome, the weather is amazing and the girls are gorgeous.

Talking to a guy at the race this year in Laguna, he advised that California had several competing events scheduled at the same time as race weekend; while Cali is a big place, several competing Motorsport venues all draw the same dollar. Is it possible for these groups to coordinate rather than compete? I have to think a staggered series of events would only help each individually.

As for hotels, don't use them. i travel to lots of races domestically and abroad and never use hotels - use airbnb.com and you will save thousands on any trip wrapped around a major event. For Laguna this year, i rented a 2 bedroom apartment on the water on Cannery Row that slept 5 people. i paid $600 6 months in advance for 4 nights (split that 5 ways and it's peanuts). Besides, walking into that bar post race this year and getting to talk to Nicky, Vale, Jorge, Dovi, Bradl, Dovi was beyond anything I could ever imagine and makes me want to go every year.

I will be heartbroken to see this race lost; I travel from Maryland each year to see it and it is just a great place to watch a race. Been to Indy several times and as said above, it does indeed suck. The track surface sucks, the layout sucks, the seating sucks and, hate to say it, but Indy kind of sucks. Worse yet, you can tell the riders think it sucks.

Sorry to crass, but this is disappointing if true. Hopefully Yamaha USA and/or Wayne Rainey and King Kenny have something to say about it.

Haha stop complaining about the cota race it's way better track than Indy and laguna put together it's an actual race facility . You just mad cause u can't make the cota race too bad watch it live on motogp.com.. N what u guys think laguna was gona last forever .. C'mon remember china donnington Istanbul park, way better tracks than cota and laguna and Indy put together wish those tracks would come back too bad they don't last forever same as laguna.. 8 years that's a good run if u ask me. Brazil will be badass.

Dumbest reply ever. Not mad because I can't make the COTA race. That place is all flash and no substance, just like any Tilke-designed track. If I have to fly to a race, might as well make it Assen, or Mugello, or Phillip Island, or Brno. All the iconic tracks on the calendar have something special to them, and none of them were designed by that Tilke guy. There's nothing special about COTA, it's just "new is always better" syndrome.

why not drop 3 of the spanish rounds and have silverstone donnington and brands back oh sorry we cant have 3 were not spanish silly me !!!!

up to snuff. Remains to be seen if the World Cup can be pulled off. What happened to India? Big talk....nice negotiating ploy...Laguna Seca has its limitations,but it is a genuine race track and provides the full ride in/hang out experience that so many motorcycle racing fans desire. The facilities/attendance talk is the same horseshit that Nascar talked and implemented....abandoning it's true base and loyal "real" racetracks for the fools gold of bigger attendance in bigger markets and cookie cutter tracks....hasn't quite worked out the way they dreamed,(but then they dreamed of MC road racing in a bowl like Daytona and Charlotte with countable asses in seats and TV Commercial rates based on body counts and not thousands of the unwashed and uncountable spread over a hillside camping and kicking it over a weekend..)....whatever the problems with Road racing in the US,and there are many,Laguna Seca is not one of them....good track,good racing,devoted fan base...

It's an interesting question: a wall that's close to the circuit where it's unlikely someone will run off, or a circuit with a shitty surface that high-sides several riders to hospital each year. Anyway, I thought T1 was the real safety issue at Laguna, ie you screw up over the crest and you're going to get hurt bad...

What is obvious is that Indy has a much better press-office and promotion capabilities, and the capacity to run the full program. Much as I prefer watching Laguna, I can see the logic... although I'm less convinced by the importance of IMS being a "household name" among people who have no interest in attending anyway.

Due to the health issues of my now-late wife, we only made the Indy MotoGP in 2008 and 2009 (and I now plan to be back next year). But I got to know Indianapolis very well those two years. And got it driven home that, if you're actually attending (rather than just watching the telly), there's more to a weekend of MotoGP racing than the track, the riders, and the layout of the circuit. There's the venue its held in, and I'm not just talking the track itself. I'm talking the town hosting the event.

Something that the louder complainers here are not seeing is that the city of Indianapolis and the IMS Corporation probably have a better idea of how to host a major race or motorcycle event than anybody else in the United States - with the possible exception of Daytona, FL. Doing over 100 years of the Indy 500 is a real good start. Tossing in an annual NASCAR race with the kind of crowds those gather is another good step. Hell, once you've done those two, putting on a race for a mere 90-95,000 people is incredibly easy.

And, if you've gone there, it shows. The attitude is relaxed. Relaxed as in the ability to handle crowds at the motels without massive gouging and insane room packages. Relaxed as in the restaurants have no problem handling the amount of people coming in. Relaxed as in the local constabulary don't have a need to show "who's running the town" and make the town's budget in a weekend of writing tickets.

Yeah, the track's not as good as Laguna. Well, it doesn't have The Corkscrew - from what I'm reading, maybe Laguna's track isn't quite as good as this east coaster has always been led to believe. From the reports I've read over the years, doing the race weekend at Laguna is a lot more frantic, a lot less relaxed and comfortable (and therefore less enjoyable in my eyes) as Indianapolis.

No, if Indianapolis wins out over Laguna, its going to be because the town, the organizers, the city fathers, etc. have managed to show Dorna that they know a heck of a lot more about running races in the long term than any California track.

Aside note: Given the area covered, Spain needs to lose TWO races, not one. Like yesterday. I don't care how many Spanish fans there are, they've got an ability to make all the Spanish races, the Portugese one, the French round, and probably a couple of more with a lot less driving than I do to get from Richmond, VA to Indianapolis.

What Laguna obviously lacks in polish, it makes up in adventure. More like a camping weekend, even if you had a hotel, you still end up dirty. That said, as much as your ankles, legs and ultimately, wallet aches, Laguna still has a hold on you. It really is a special place.

Which is why I'd rather see Indianapolis stay. I'm not looking for adventure when I go to a MotoGP weekend. I'm looking for an enjoyable weekend, some good riding, and a good race.

Sounds like Laguna is a wonderful track for a twenty-something. As I went past that point about the time we got rid of Jimmy Carter, I'll settle for Indianapolis' comfort.

I'm in two minds about the place.
I like the track but can't accept that only the MotoGP class runs there.
I want to make the trip but this and the accommodation issues put me off.
Indy looks on TV as though there is nobody there, I'm sure it's an illusion and the crowds are lost in the stands but I get the impression of no atmosphere?
COTA, I just heard so many horror stories of the way that people were treated by over zealous security guards that this, like US border controls, puts me off returning to the country altogether.

Trust me, there's atmosphere there. If anything hurts the perception of the event it's the scale of Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

According to a quick double check on Wikipedia, IMS will hold 257,325 paying fans in the seats. Yeah, slightly over a quarter million people.

So when you drop 90-95,000 fans in there, they rattle around quite loudly. But then, what's the largest attendance at a MotoGP race (you pick the track)? 140,000? That would only slightly half-fill the IMS. And it would still look half empty.

Let me start by saying I live in Atlanta, I can drive to Indy. I have been to the races at Indy and had a great time sure the layout is lacking and the 1st year we sat in the rain, but we were watching MOTOGP LIVE ! I can afford but one of these trips a year and it's cheaper for me and my family to go to Indy. Now when I lived in California (and was single) I rode up the coast and saw the 500's in 93' and also had a blast . I've not been to Austin, but would probably go alone as airfare for 3 is 3X as much as it is for one. Starting to ramble , but I'd like to see them run @ Barber or Miller. I don't think Barber is large enough but Miller sure is and I could probably turn Utah into a family vacation while we were out there.

If Dorna is selling MotoGP as a televised entertainment product, what sense is there in removing a real, beautiful and full (looking) track that has tons of character and legendary corners, only to keep the flattest, dullest, emptiest (looking) oddball (in an oval?) venues?

Laguna looks great on TV and Indy looks like a gokart track. Which is ironic because Laguna is actually better suited for Karts. :-p

I was at COTA and had no issues. Fantastic track. They need another grandstand outside Turn 12, and sitting on the ground in the cockleburrs along the esses did suck, so we upgraded to Turn 15, thanks to a very helpful adminstratory at the ticket office. NO COMPLAINTS.

I go to Indy because it's close, I plan on going to Laguna Seca. Dump Valencia, how many races do you need on the Iberian peninsula? 3 races in the US, compare the size, it makes sense to have 3. I do agree that Laguna has its limitations due to infrastructure both in and out of the facility. But's ICONIC, might as well dump Assen. Sure, Assen=1949, but American is young, Laguna Seca IS our most historic track, for bike racing anyway.

And if you don't want a ticket, don't speed. You KNOW the police are looking to line their coffers, don't walk right into a waiting trap, duh!

Dumping Assen would be foolish. The track may not be as legendary as it used to be but the layout is still good to provide good racing.

And even though we haven't had a rider in the top class for ages, the Dutch fans still turn up. That says enough.

I hoped that Indy, Laguna and Austin would all be dropped, awful race tracks that they are.

Laguna has provided one excellent race in its entire tenure of 9 years and as a result of not allowing the other world championships to compete there that's only 9 races. I don't understand how they can be allowed to get away with that? The track is short, slow, badly surfaced, extremely difficult to pass at, lacking in run off and the necessary facilities to expand the product and it's impact in California. get rid of it.

Indy is an abortive failure of a race track as well, underdeveloped to the point of severe safety concerns each year and again providing very little in the way of on track excitement in it's time on the calendar.

I could not believe how badly designed for motorcycle racing COTA was. Any track that promotes follow-my-leader, spaced out races in moto3 and moto2 should be immediately dropped from the calendar considering how starved for excitement the series is at the moment.

Why all the concern over Hosting races in the US anyway? It's a mature and faltering economy with very well rooted fiscal relationships between business and highly developed sporting enterprises (television, sponsorship, merchandise, exposure etc.).
How many teams have gained sponsorship deals from the series' time there? None?
How many american teams have joined the series?
How many riders?
How many manufacturers!??
The argument that it's an important market for sales rinses like pig swill as well. Surely the vast majority of that market is cruisers and the majority of the remainder is dirt bikes. Any thing left over is drag strip refugee fashion victims and 15 year old 600s for stunts?

Sack off the U.S. in it's entirety and no more Tilke race tracks, the vast majority suck for motorcycle sport.
Start exporting the product to places where emerging consumer markets and insipient and sunstantial monetary wealth can have a positive impact on the sport. China, Russia, India, Indonesia, Thailand, The Philipines, Korea, the Middle east, Turkey, South America et al. Dorna have tried (sic) in a few of these places and failed miserably so they need to try again and try much harder. Much much harder.

"but we don't have a fan base steeped in the tradition of the sport from birth with long standing allegiances to riders, teams and manufacturers. It's too hard. lets not bother with this. Back to Spain everyone where there's no money (!) absolute market saturation, life is easy and the promotion is all taken care of by television adverts and the national media."
Fuck Spain and fuck Dorna.

Allow financial concessions for new race tracks exactly like new manufacturers.

Turn the whole series into a world tour. Follow the seasons around the planet and massively reduce logistical costs. I remember being horrified a few years ago when the circus went to Laguna then Brno and then back to Indy!?

It's all fuct and now I'm sad.

OK, in that rather ill-tempered rant, you just suggested getting rid of the Spanish and American sites. That's seven races out of nineteen. In your estimation, what sites should continue, and what should replace?

(putting the feet up and reaching for the popcorn, this should be interesting)

How many teams have gained sponsorship deals from the series' time there? None?
Perhaps your not familiar with who has the naming rights for Ben Spies team and where they are located. As a hint, you don't have to cross any pond to get there.

How many american teams have joined the series?
I guess you are looking past the Attack and GP Tech CRT bikes that are domilcied in California and Indiana, USA.

How many riders?
Each of the above two teams are fielding single entry riders. so, that would be 2 riders.

How many manufacturers!??
While a CRT entry, they are prototype machines in that the frames and motor mods are performed by them.

The argument that it's an important market for sales rinses like pig swill as well. Surely the vast majority of that market is cruisers and the majority of the remainder is dirt bikes. Any thing left over is drag strip refugee fashion victims and 15 year old 600s for stunts?

->Actually the median age of sportbike riders in the United States is 38.

Why all the concern over Hosting races in the US anyway? It's a mature and faltering economy...
we are still one of the richest nations in the world on a per capita basis.

Lastly, bring the garbage language somewhere else.

Come on dude, you can do better than that.

I ask such questions rhetorically, the participation of the US in our favourite sport is neither ideal nor passable nor appropriate nor beneficial.

I agree it's a financially developed and wealthy country but that wealth appears to be very well spent, with considerable commitment elsewhere. It is neither relevant nor receptive to Motogp. Go somewhere else. Chase that productive money somewhere else, the global fan-base and monetary pool has many potential hotspots. Find them, invest in them, nurture them.
Kr Snr was 35 years ago. lets move on. everything else has.
Buying into CRT when it's apparent later if not at first that the whole endeavor was a power play to wrestle control, or as much as possible, away from the manufacturers does not a relevant or differential statement make.
I'm glad they did it, they made it happen and they should be applauded.
Did they upset anyone? did they change anything? (I maintain that the whole thing is headed for meltdown at many possible incipient junctures).

No. They turned up and proved how fuckin' hard the whole endeavour proves to be.

They were no more, in fact less relevant than the Paton 500 projects proved to be. The time for good old boys stickin' it to the man has passed.
Get current, get good, make a difference (double vodka-redbulls have directly generated an F1 world championship or two...) and prove that the old guard are not relevant, Ducati can't do it so get clever. Turn the sport into a money making, and more importantly, spending behemoth. The US has no apparent interest in what Dorna are up to regardless of The degree of supreme scientific awareness, analysis and aptitude displayed by the USA.

Evolve or Die.

I wish they could alternate events, rather than pitting the venues/governments against one another in a bidding war. The bidding wars almost always outstrip revenues, and the taxpayers are stuck with the bill. The fans get angry and resentment builds towards the sport.

If they alternated venues, it might raise local relevance, and cause fans to travel. If fans see a race at COTA, and they love the GP atmosphere, perhaps they would be enticed to travel to Indy or Laguna during an off-year at COTA. Perhaps this would raise track revenues and local tourism revenues. It also makes a GP more special for the spectators, and it creates a more interesting TV product. The teams and riders also get a more challenging competition.

This is a question for David or anybody else that might know the answer. I was told by someone at the Austin Moto GP that has more inside knowledge of the US racing scene than me that the real reason that they don't run Moto 2 and Moto 3 at Laguna was because Laguna has a contract with the AMA to run its races there during the GP weekend. As a result, there simply isn't enough room for the lower Moto Gp classes on the weekend schedule. This person also told me that Dorna would love to bring Moto 2 and Moto 3 to Laguna if it could get out of its agreement with the AMA. If this situation is true and if Laguna is stuck with the AMA, this does not bode well for the survival of the race in Monterey.

Part of the reason the 500cc GP didn't survive at Laguna was the rather immense sanctioning fee required to bring all three classes - 500, 250 and 125 (and sidecars one year!).

The MotoGP-only business model is a carryover from the Superbike years, when it made sense to bring just the big class and have AMA Superbike as the support class (and source of wildcard entries).

Believe me, it would cost a lot more to bring Moto2 and Moto3 over here than it costs to have the AMA classes race here.

Cost doesn't seem to stop Dorna bringing all classes to Indy and Austin. Although I know that Scramp doesn't have the deep pockets that COTA and IMS have, I thought that part of the justification of the poorly attended Qatar race was that the sanctioning fee paid by the organizers of that race to Dorna essentially covered all of the yearly Moto GP travel expenses.

I don't know anything about the Qatar finances. But remember that Laguna's race is put on by a non-profit without the deep pockets of a for-profit organizer.


I think that cost + small paddock make Laguna a difficult choice for Moto2/3.

Indy, as someone pointed out, is very, very good at hosting major motorsports events. We'll see if COTA is still around in 5 years.

just mad cause they think laguna seca is the best track,, laguna is boring hardly any overtake passes short bumpy Only cool things is cork screw but it's already outdated. Would like to see wsbk go there. motogp needs better race tracks.. Don't be upset maybe if America was more like Spain in motorcycle racing wise maybe their would be more going on in America..

I have Indianapolis Motor Speedway on my list. I would seriously love to go to Indy. What I'm not going to do is go to Indy to watch a bike race.
It's well and good to have better facilities, but I didn't fly a quarter of the way round the world to have better press releases and cheaper hotel rooms. I flew a quarter of the way round the world to watch a bike race.

Dropping Laguna for Indy is the decision of a shiny suited accountant.

As someone who has attended Laguna Seca from 2006 (missed the first year) thru 2012 (couldn't attend this year as just had twin girls) Laguna is a great track with a fascinating layout. Anyone that says the CorkScrew is the only feature doesn't understand the sheer madness of turn 1, the first year riders said they got completely airborne!

I agree that the facilities could use a big improvement, when I watch races at other circuits I can only wish Laguna Seca were at that level i.e. Sepang, Motegi. I've never understood why the grandstands and other sections seemed like high school football bleachers. How awesome it would be with a nice covered grandstand at the corkscrew!

When we have riders that year after year say that the track at IMS is not up to standards (multiple types of tarmac) which puts more stresses on the tires, multiple crashes, and the best of all... the track being run in the opposite direction it was designed for! Why would you race with closed radius turns?! One could even say that IMS and the resulting crash last season of Casey Stoner resulted in him not winning a back-to-back title! All the could-a-would-a-should-a's.

As for CoTA, I haven't been but would like to. The track looks really cool, I think the uphill turn 1 is a nice touch. I'm just pissed with the whole handling of the situation with Schwantz, sounds like he really got screwed.

Anyway LS is a mere 8 hours drive from Vegas so I will continue to go there from next year and beyond. I definitely don't plan to haul bikes to IMS or CoTA.

Laguna Seca has several problem areas. They don't promote the race well enough, the track is too close to some very expensive real estate, and they treat bike riders very poorly now. This year's free parking for bikes was on a soft rolling hillside dirt lot with ground squirrel holes. Cars could park for $10 for one day while bikes had to pay $50 for all three days to park on asphalt. 1 in 10 bikes fell over on the dirt.

The track itself is awesome. I've ridden it myself. Lots of motor history has been made at Laguna. I've been going since the Can Am days in the late 60s. Unfortunately, money has bought lots of the viewing areas and the pit access. Motorcycles are popular world wide because they are affordable means of transportation. It just so happens they are fun too.

Remember that the track is a non-profit organization in the middle of a park. It is also in the middle of one of the worlds great rides. There is also another track at Sears Point, only 100 miles north of Laguna. It has NASCAR money behind it and has been modernized ($), but I would rather go to Laguna.

I suspect much of the difference of opinion depends on how you watch an event.

For TV viewing Laguna has been one of my favourite events over the last few years. Regardless of outright wheel to wheel racing it has been great to watch riders throw their bikes around- something I enjoy anywhere in honesty. Each year it has been hugely enjoyable.

Were I to attend an event in the US though, Indianapolis would be amoung my first choices- the event as a whole and the place'shistorical importance being key considerations. Yet watching the race on TV, it has been certainly one of the least enjoyable race weekends of the season.

I have no conclusion, I merely offer the perspective.

I suspect much of the difference of opinion depends on how you watch an event.

For TV viewing Laguna has been one of my favourite events over the last few years. Regardless of outright wheel to wheel racing it has been great to watch riders throw their bikes around- something I enjoy anywhere in honesty. Each year it has been hugely enjoyable.

Were I to attend an event in the US though, Indianapolis would be amoung my first choices- the event as a whole and the place'shistorical importance being key considerations. Yet watching the race on TV, it has been certainly one of the least enjoyable race weekends of the season.

I have no conclusion, I merely offer the perspective.