Indianapolis Stays On MotoGP Calendar For 2014, In Talks For Long-Term Extension

Below the press release from Dorna confirming that all three Grand Prix classes will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 2014:

Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix To Return To IMS in 2014
FIM MotoGP™ World Championship event expected in August

The Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix will return to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway for a seventh consecutive year in 2014, with an expected race date in mid-August to be announced in the future.

Next year is the final year of the agreement between IMS and sanctioning organization and commercial rights holder Dorna to bring all three classes of the MotoGP World Championship – MotoGP™, Moto2™ and Moto3™ – to the Brickyard. But IMS and Dorna have started discussions about a long-term relationship past the terms of the current contract. MotoGP first came to IMS in 2008.

“We’re very pleased that we can bring our fans another thrilling MotoGP World Championship race in 2014 at IMS,” Indianapolis Motor Speedway President J. Douglas Boles said. “The last six years have established a solid foundation for the Red Bull Indianapolis GP and we are optimistic about the growth of the event in Indianapolis. We are also eager to continue working with our friends at Dorna to ensure an exciting long-term future for MotoGP at The Racing Capital of the World.”

"I’m extremely pleased that MotoGP will be returning to iconic Indianapolis track in 2014 to bring the pinnacle of motorcycle racing to the American fans. The Brickyard not only attracts a great crowd every year, but it heritage and history in the world of motor racing also helps grow the popularity of MotoGP in the United States and around the world. I would like to thank the organization and staff at Indianapolis for their fantastic efforts to keep the race at their track, and am already looking forward to returning next year.”, declared Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO.

The 2014 Red Bull Indianapolis GP once again will feature superstars Valentino Rossi, Jorge Lorenzo, Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez and Cal Crutchlow racing on 1000cc prototype motorcycles from Ducati, Honda and Yamaha on the 16-turn, 2.621-mile IMS road course. The race weekend also will include competition in the Moto2 (600cc) and Moto3 (250cc) World Championship classes featuring riders from around the world.

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Much has been written as to whether it is right for the US to continue with three rounds. With this news- which from an historical move is positive but from racing and TV spectator point of view is much less so- it begs the question will Laguna face the axe? I read reports that attendances were down in Laguna this year, and by a significant margin.

I would hate for Indy to remain at the cost to Laguna, especially considering it has consistently provided gret entertainment in a manner that Indianapolis could only hope for with historical importance aside.

I went to Laguna last year and this year as well as Austin this year and I suspect that due to the cost of things in California and Austin being the new track many people may have chosen to go to Austin this year. Attendance was noticeably lower at Laguna this year but I think next year it may be back up some. I've never been to Indy but love the atmosphere and circuit at Laguna. If MotoGP doesn't go there in the future then I'll be making a trip to see WSBK instead.

History, history, history...
What about the riders...?
How about re-surfacing the entire infield section and running the 'other' way around ?

As a Californian, I loved the fact that I could go to Laguna Seca and watch WSBK. Then MotoGP came to town. I "thought" I would love going to see the greatest riders in the world compete on what I thought was one of the greatest tracks in the world. I went the first year, in 2005 and thought, where are the rest? It's not a GP weekend without the Moto2 and 125s. I thought things would improve the next year. Those things did not. To this day, there is still no Moto2 or Moto3 at Laguna. Even where things did improve, SCRAMP or whomever found a way to nullify the improvement.

Case in point: After 2005 I made a suggestion to Gil Campbell to make a bikes only ingress and egress route. This was in fact done, though buses were then added to the same route. Thus, it was no longer a bikes only route. Now, that would not in fact be problematic but we're talking about an old road that had seen little use since the US Army left Ft. Ord back in the early 1990s. Putting buses on that road did more damage to the asphalt in one day than 100,000 motorcycles would have done in ten years. So, instead of an enjoyable ride in, riders (this is a motorcycle event right?) have to deal not only with zealous CHP enforcement of ridiculously low speed limits, but also with banzai bus drivers whipping around corners with their bus intruding into half of the opposite lane. Combined with the gaping holes in the asphalt created by the buses, it was not only unenjoyable, but tedious as well. Add to that, relatively unfriendly locals (Canyon del Rey anyone?) and exorbitant hotel rates and I find myself avoiding Monterey altogether during MotoGP weekend.

I have also been to MotoGP at Indy in 2008 and it was far and away a much more enjoyable experience, even with the hurricane blowing in on race day. It may not be a favorite with the riders but from a spectators standpoint it has everything over Laguna Seca except a corkscrew. Riding into Indy was enjoyable. The locals as well as local PD were extremely helpful and friendly. The facilities there are a world apart from Laguna Seca, with rest rooms and food counters easy to find. Never mind that Laguna is decidedly traffic unfriendly in comparison. Getting in and out of Indy is a breeze. After all, it was built to handle 400,000 race fans. Laguna on the other hand has difficulty with 40,000. Viewing from the grand stands at Indy is generally excellent, and any blind spots on track are filled in with giant screens so you don't miss anything.

Based solely on my personal experiences with both tracks, I can completely see why Laguna Seca may be off the calendar in the future. Logistically it's a horrible venue. Facilities are lacking, traffic is funneled into a very few options for egress after race day, and to top it off, the locals are motorcycle unfriendly. Indy on the other hand LOVED us. They know how to treat fans there. Add to that the presence of Moto2 and Moto3 (which let's face it, are more exciting than MotoGP the majority of the time) and Indy has it over Laguna Seca. I find it a big reason for not actually going to the track anymore. Why spend the time and money to go when you don't even get the full show?

Food at Laguna may be better, and the track itself has more personality but, that's all Laguna Seca has over Indy. Everything else, from a logistical stand point is easier and more functional at Indy. The infrastructure for handling massive crowds is already in place. Hotel accommodations and transit to the airport are also superior (cheaper too). The track itself? There's plenty of room to alter it and from what I've read so far today, a complete repave is already in the cards.

Indy may never have the personality of Laguna Seca,but it is still far and away a better venue for the fans (you and me) and in the grand scheme of things, the fans are why races can happen.