Qatar is to host a MotoGP race through 2026. The Losail International Circuit has extended its current deal, which expires in 2016, for another 10 years.
The race is to remain a night race, and will stay as the season opener for the foreseeable future. The race is a lucrative one for Dorna, the fee paid by Qatar covering all of the costs of all of the flyaway races for all of the teams for the full season.
The night race is popular with fans, as it provides an interesting spectacle, and the layout is particularly well suited to motorcycle racing. However, holding the race as a night race means it is impossible to start the season much earlier than late March, as temperatures drop too much at night earlier in the year, causing dew to form on the track, making it dangerous to race on.
Below is the press release issued by Dorna:
Qatar secures 10-year MotoGP™ contract
The Losail International Circuit will be featured on the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar until at least 2026 following a joint announcement by QMMF President Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah and Dorna Sports CEO Mr Carmelo Ezpeleta. The two parties committed to continue the agreement which has seen the Qatar round become a permanent fixture of Grand Prix racing since 2004.
On Sunday morning at the Barcelona-Catalunya Circuit, Mr. Al-Attiyah and Mr. Ezpeleta penned a 10-year deal from 2017 onwards, meaning the event will run for at least 23 consecutive editions since it’s addition to the calendar in 2004. Since then the Qatar GP has become a key point of the Championship. It has acted as the season opener since 2007 and really made its mark in 2008 when it switched to a night-race format, a first in the history of MotoGP™.
Mr. Al-Attiyah declared: “We are very excited about continuing our partnership with MotoGP™ and securing our place in the calendar for another decade. The night race is a spectacular event that we’re proud to host and we aim to keep perfecting this partnership."
"Since its first edition in 2004, the Qatar GP became a trademark of the MotoGP™ World Championship and continues to provide a unique set-up for racing, so we're pleased to seal this agreement and extend our relationship beyond 2016. Losail International Circuit always creates a magic atmosphere and the brotherhood of the two companies has grown throughout the years", commented Dorna Sports SL CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta.