US MotoGP Shakeup: Back-To-Back Rounds Could See All Classes At Laguna And Indy
Ever since its return to America, MotoGP in the USA has been something of an anomaly. When the series first headed back across the Atlantic in 2005, it was only the MotoGP class that made the trip to Laguna Seca, with cost and limited paddock space cited as reasons for leaving the (then) 250 and 125 classes back in Europe. When the Red Bull US GP in Laguna was joined by the Red Bull Indianapolis GP at the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway facility in 2008, the two support classes joined the MotoGP riders in the US, but only at Indy. Furthermore, the two US rounds have also always been separated by at least one European race, forcing the teams to fly their bikes and equipment out to the US twice.
It looks like a more sensible approach may be developing, however. According to reports in both the eminent publication GPWeek and in Motorcycle News, the 2011 calendar could be altered to accommodate all three classes at both US rounds. Motorcycle racing's eminence grise Michael Scott reports that Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta spoke to Spanish reporters at Laguna Seca about bringing Moto2 and 125 to the Californian circuit. To make this possible - a move that West Coast racing fans would warmly welcome - the two US rounds would have to be rescheduled, and both races run one after another. Having the two US rounds together would allow the MotoGP teams to cut transport costs significantly, while offering Moto2 and 125 teams an extra race at comparatively little extra cost.
The question remains whether Laguna Seca and Indy would be raced on consecutive weekends or with a free weekend between the two. From the standpoint of costs, consecutive weekends would be preferable, as the teams could travel directly from one race to the next. The only question mark would be over transporting the bikes and equipment from Northern California to the Midwest, with just two days to make the trip of 2,300 miles - or nearly 3,700 kilometers - from the west coast to Indy by road, a cheaper option than using air freight to ship the equipment from west to east.
A bigger question mark hangs over the plan, however. 2010 is the final year of the three-year contract which Dorna has with the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and as yet, no news has emerged concerning Indy's intentions to continue the agreement. Although officials involved in the event have been extremely complimentary about the event, there is still no sign of a deal being finalized to extend the Indy GP. If the event at Indianapolis - or Laguna Seca, which has come under pressure from wealthy locals complaining about the noise from the circuit - is dropped from the MotoGP schedule, then the plan to host both classes at Laguna could be called off.