2015 Indianapolis MotoGP Preview - Will The Last Time At The Brickyard Be The Best?

Depending on who you ask, MotoGP's summer break is either too short, or too long. For the fans, three full weekends without MotoGP is a painfully long time, though both World Superbikes and BSB have done a pretty good job of making MotoGP's absence much more bearable. For the teams, riders and staff, the four weeks between the Sachsenring and Indianapolis pass in an instant, seeming way too short to qualify as a break.

In between PR appearances and negotiations for 2016, riders are lucky to grab five days R&R before getting back to training for the remainder of the season. Team staff, on the other hand, spend their time catching up with all of the stuff they didn't get done in the first half of the season, and trying to get a head start on the second half. What were supposed to be 23 days away from it all get eaten up by a myriad of minor tasks that had been neglected, and before they know it, they are on a plane again and heading for the next race. Not that they mind: for 99% of the people involved in MotoGP, they are driven by a passion for racing, and being at a race track is their idea of heaven. That is why they are paid so poorly, and what makes the paddock such an inspirational place to be.

Indianapolis is a pretty good place to get back to racing, too. Downtown has a real motorcycle buzz, with bike-related activities going on throughout the weekend. Indianapolis Motor Speedway remains one of the most special motorsports facilities in the world, drenched in legend and racing history. Getting in and out of the circuit is a breeze, in contrast with other races, meaning you don't have to get up at insane o'clock if you want to get to the track in time for the start of morning warm up.

It has its downsides too: in a facility is gargantuan as IMS, the crowd of 60,000 or so MotoGP fans just rattle around the place. The layout of the track, housed in the circuit's infield, is limited by the exigencies of its location. The changes made for 2014 were a major improvement on the previous road course, making it a lot more flowing than it was, but it remains flat, with corners that have been designed rather than evolved. This year, it also lost the link with the Indy Mile, at the Indiana State Fairground, the legendary flat track race being held a month earlier.

The event has not attracted the masses of bike fans from the eastern seaboard, as had been hoped, nor has it had much of an impact in expanding the fan base of MotoGP in the US. The circuit and the city may love MotoGP, but the surrounding area remain indifferent. The fans at Indy are often the same faces as at Austin, and at Laguna Seca too, when the race was held in Northern California: America's band of rabidly enthusiastic MotoGP fans, prepared to go to any lengths to see a race in their country, even if it means using up all their brief vacation days and spending their hard-earned money on watching racing on home soil. That failure means that this is likely to be the last ever race at Indianapolis, as Dorna is forced to concede that the fan base and finances can only support a single race in the USA. It will be a shame to lose it, as Indy was always the best US event in terms of the fan experience. But harsh economic realities and the lure of new markets make its demise inevitable.

The Indianapolis track will come as a blessed relief to the Repsol Honda riders. After a difficult start to 2015, kicking off the second half of the season at a track where they have won the last five editions offers a chance to move the momentum from the Sachsenring up a gear. The lack of a flowing layout means that the biggest weakness of the 2015 Honda RC213V (or the hybrid version being ridden by Marc Márquez) does not rear its ugly head. Braking for corner entry is mostly done in a straight line, the rear sliding relatively controllably.

If a Honda has won here for the past five years, who take victory in 2015? If Marc Márquez has any hope of retaining his title, he will have to win here, and keep on winning. Márquez has a strong record here: he has not been beaten in either Moto2 or MotoGP, having won the last four times he competed at Indy. Victory at the Sachsenring gave him a major morale boost, and he will carry that on to Indianapolis.

He will have to beat his teammate, though, as Dani Pedrosa's season is on an upward trend. Pedrosa has also won here twice, and before last year, had not finished any worse than second at Indy. The arm pump issues which plagued Pedrosa all last year have now been cured, and his physical rehabilitation is very close to complete. Pedrosa has not won a race for nearly a year, and is eager to buck that trend. Indy is the first in a string of tracks where the Spaniard has traditionally excelled, so kicking off the second half of the year with a win could presage great things to come.

The biggest problem for both Márquez and Pedrosa come in the shape of a brace of Movistar Yamahas. The Yamahas have been inching closer to ending the Honda hegemony in the heartland for the past couple of seasons, and 2015 could see the year they finally prevail. The Yamaha M1 is the best bike on the grid at the moment, and both Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo are in peak form. Both men have won here, and both men know that the title will be decided between the two of them. Beating their teammate will be their main goal, preferably by putting as many of their rivals between them.

Will it be Rossi or Lorenzo who seizes the advantage at Indy? Given the high stresses placed on the tires, and the fact that Bridgestone were giving serious consideration to bringing the extra hard rear which made its debut at Argentina to the circuit. In the end, they decided against it, and will supply the medium and hard rear tires instead. Both Lorenzo and Rossi raced with the hard last year, and it is a tire which Rossi prefers. But Lorenzo got to within a couple of seconds of Marc Márquez in 2014, so it is not that much of a handicap. Just as at the rest of the remaining nine circuits, there really is very little to choose between the two of them.

What of the Ducatis? Indianapolis could be a circuit where they can excel. The factory Ducati team halved the distance from the winner between 2013 and 2014, slashing the gap to Marc Márquez from 40 to 20 seconds. If they can take another 20 seconds off their race time, well, you do the math. The problem for Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone is that while the Desmosedici GP15 is a massive step forward over last year's bike, the other bikes – and especially the Yamaha – have improved as well. Though it looked like the GP15 had allowed the Ducati catch the two leading manufacturers at Qatar, since then, Yamaha and Honda have moved the goalposts again, leaving the two Andreas floundering in their wake. Gigi Dall'Igna and his engineers have had another four weeks to come up with improvements to help catch them. Indianapolis is a good place to try.

The challenge for Suzuki and Aprilia is much greater. The layout of Indianapolis is the epitome of everything the Suzuki hates: a long front straight entered in a low gear, followed by a lot of tight corners connected by straight lines. The strength of the Suzuki GSX-RR is its incredible agility, but when a circuit does not reward agility, the bike suffers. The lack of a seamless gearbox exacerbates the lack of both horsepower and acceleration, meaning that Aleix Espargaro and Maverick Viñales face a weekend of being left for dead out of the corners. Their first real hope of salvation will probably only come at the test at Brno, when Suzuki is due to bring some upgrades, hopefully including a seamless gearbox. For now, Espargaro and Viñales must grit their teeth and hope for the best.

Things are much tougher at Aprilia, but now that Stefan Bradl has been drafted in as a permanent replacement for the melancholy Marco Melandri, the whole project should at least take on a more positive path. The problem is that the RS-GP remains an interim project, a bike evolved from the RSV4, modified to compete as a CRT within the MotoGP class. The CRTs are gone, and Aprilia faces a full prototype onslaught, though the Open bikes are hampered by the subpar Open class software. While the data from Alvaro Bautista and Stefan Bradl is being used to shape the all-new, fully prototype bike being designed by Romano Albesiano, their current bike is far from competitive. Slow, heavy, still using a wet clutch, the bike does not want to enter the corner or turn like a Yamaha or Honda.

While Bautista is gritting his teeth, Bradl will at least be glad to have saved his season. The demise of the Forward Racing team – whether their appearance at Brno is merely temporary, or they will be able to complete the rest of the season is still something of a mystery – left Bradl out in the cold. Jumping in to replace Melandri puts him in the hot seat for the Aprilia ride next year. His first few races will be instructive, and give him an idea of whether that is where he wants to be.

What of the satellite riders? The Monster Tech 3 Yamaha partnership of Bradley Smith and Pol Espargaro head to Indianapolis on a high, still elated after their victory at Suzuka. The win should provide the Tech 3 twosome with even more motivation to start the second half of the season in style. The question mark is just how much the sweltering heat and intense pressure of the Suzuka 8 Hour race took out of them. Can Bradley Smith continue his rock solid form from the first part of the season? Can Pol Espargaro turn his year around on the back of his 8 Hour win? Indianapolis gives them a chance to find out.

As for the Hondas, Indy should prove very instructive. Cal Crutchlow heads to the US looking for a good result, and hoping to close the gap to the Repsol Honda riders. Crutchlow has adapted well to the RC213V, but past results at Indy do not bode well. His hopes rest on the strong result he had in 2013, when he finished as the best satellite rider aboard the Tech 3 Yamaha. Finishing fifth against as strong a factory field as the 2015 line up would be a very decent result indeed.

Scott Redding is perhaps the rider most eager to get back to work at Indianapolis. After a very difficult start to the 2015 season, struggling far more than he ever expected on board the Honda RC213V, Redding showed signs of real progress at the Sachsenring. A first-lap crash left him frustrated and annoyed, yet still confident that he had made a step forward. Often, the summer break can serve as a chance to reflect on the lessons of the first half of the season, and to start to internalize that knowledge. At Indianapolis, he has a chance to confirm his progress at the Sachsenring, and move on even further. His yardstick will be the gap to the front. First, that must fall, then he can start to think about results.

Adding spice to all of this is the advent of silly season. With no factory seats of any significance up for grabs, it has gotten off to a slow start. The implosion which has occurred among the private and satellite teams has made things even more complicated. The future of Forward Racing is far from certain, to put it mildly, after the arrest of team boss Giovanni Cuzari. LCR look likely to lose their link with CWM, as CWM boss Anthony Constantinou comes under ever growing legal scrutiny and faces multiple charges of sexual assault. Losing CWM backing would force Lucio Cecchinello to go from two bikes to just one, with Jack Miller likely to move to the Aspar team. Aspar, meanwhile, are strapped for cash, and struggling to stay afloat for next year.

Despite the many difficulties, Indianapolis could see the first few loose ends being tied up. Bradley Smith looks set to extend his contract with Tech 3 any day now, and Indy would be as good a place as any to announce the deal. Teammate Pol Espargaro must negotiate his deal with Yamaha rather than Tech 3 boss Hervé Poncharal, and looks set to take a pay cut to stay where he is. Espargaro's deal is a little further away than Smith's, but he is just as likely to stay put as his teammate. Cal Crutchlow's contact extension with LCR is a formality, but there are hoops still to be jumped through. Sam Lowes is rumored to be close to a deal with a MotoGP team, a deal which could also be announced at Indy.

All things considered, what is likely to be the final running of MotoGP at The Brickyard promises to be one of the best editions yet. Enjoy Indy while you can, US bike fans, for you will miss it more than you realize once it is gone.


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Comments

Dorna doesn't really seem to grasp the realities of this country, do they?

If they believe that largely the same 60k people travel the United States to each GP race, they're sorely mistaken. This country is simply too vast for that to be a reality. This isn't Spain; it would take me a full 18 hours to drive to Austin, and too much money fly, and another 23 hours beyond that to Laguna Seca. Each race in the US draws from it's own pool of fans - there isn't some "booster club" following from race to race.

Lose Indy and you'll alienate a good chunk of fans who like GP racing and want to see it live. Few people are going to be willing to make the extended trip to see a race in Austin at a track that has yet to produce a decent, competitive race.

Dorna's "requirements" for a race don't make much sense to me. On the one hand, you have Qatar, which exists solely because Qatar will pay Dorna's fees to host the race. No one attends this race. On the other hand, you have Indy, who not only pays Dorna's fees, but does everything asked of them and more to provide a quality event, but gets cut because not enough people attend? Do they want attendance, or do they want their fees paid?

They seem to be more worried about perception than reality. Shame, that is.

Indy's 11 hours from my place just north of Richmond. Although I've promised Maggie that someday we'll do COTA for both races (F1 and MotoGP); that's still one hell of a drive, and I'm more interested in doing the Daytona triumvirate (24 Hours, 500 and 200) than driving out to Texas. And since I don't fly unless we're talking someplace where roads do not exist (England, fer instance), Laguna Seca is out of the question.

These Europeans need to wrap their heads around the size of North America. And it ain't Moscow-and-not-much-else like the continental alternatives.

Good points Ghostdog. I wonder if Indy has been paying a discounted rate for the sanctioning fee? That is the only way it would seem logical for Dorna to want to end the race. Very sorry to hear about this.

Indy is an 11 hours ride from my house in Washington DC. It is a beautiful ride through the mountains of West Virginia, and something I look forward to each year. I'm heading out tomorrow as I have for the last 4 years. If it is cancelled, I doubt I'll be heading to Austin.

Are you going to be riding Rt. 50? I am leaving solo from SE PA and taking that route on the way. Maybe we could meet up?

Heading out about 5am Thursday morning. Will be thru clarksburg west va by 10am. Not the meet up kind of guy, have my riding buddy, and that is my limit for rides. Do you have a paddock pass?

No worries. Totally understand. You'll be a few hours ahead of me anyway. No paddock pass for me, but maybe I'll run into you there!

It would be a real shame to loose Indy. It is a great facility and fan experience. I've been to every race there with my son. We've always had a great time. Even the first year in the hurricane was fun - and a bit crazy. We'll sure miss it if it goes.

I missed the Hurricane but have been to IMS MotoGP every year since. My son started coming with me a year after I started going. When he passed the test for his permit he learned to drive on the way down and the drive back.

We started watching Flat Track racing because it was held the same weekend.
Its too bad that this may be the last year its held at Indy. Forces beyond my control are preventing us from going to Indy this year :(

We always camped in the campgrounds that is in the shadow of the Indy Water Tower.
IMS, and the whole metro area know how to put a great show, they really know how to organize a great race weekend.

Excellent article as always, David. I've been to every single USGP at Indianapolis, and I will be very sad to see it go. Hopefully it goes out with a bang!

I'll just echo some of the other comments made already. In my experience, US racing draws a very large local crowd. I live right in the middle of the country (3 hours west of Indianapolis), and it's simply cost and time prohibitive for me to travel to COTA or Laguna Seca. Indy draws a strong mid-western crowd, which many fans believe are the best in all of racing. I don't know of anyone outside of the racing business that goes to all of the home rounds.

Please keep MotoGP in Indy!!!!!!!

Have historically come from California. I don't doubt that there is a strong support base in the Midwest, but in terms of 2 wheel racing we can claim the Roberts family, Rainey, Mamola (I live 10 minutes from his parents), Hopkins (though he has UK ties) etc, Lawson, etc.. and I'm probably leaving a few out.

Really the only point I guess I'm making is to echo the other comments regarding the inaccuracy of the thought that U.S. race attendees are the same at each venue. I will not attend another round unless Laguna returns, for no other reason than as has been pointed out regarding the size of the U.S. and the difficulty getting to rounds not in your local area - not to mention the travel costs and time off of work. Good job Dorna.

I live in Kalifornia and attended the last 4 GP races, even though its 400+ mile ride. COTA & Indy are out of the question. Dorna is only concerned about 1 thing: $$$$$! Every 'Seca race I attended was packed, yet Dorna pulled the race due to the organizers unable to come up with the $$$$$! As someone posted, there's a race in Qatar!??! Dorna would hold a race at the north pole if someone paid them enough.

Indy is in the infield of an oval. It's the only track on the calendar like this, and its' days were always numbered. Lots of wrecks years prior leading to injuries.

Due to American interest, one round is probably the best bet all the way around and COTA is a modern F1/MotoGP track with state of the art facilities. Just too many other countries clamoring for a round and Dorna is keen to get to new parts of Asia.

8 pound, 6 ounce baby Jesus save us from Tilke-designed modern F1 tracks that in no way produce good motorcycle racing. Nothing about the Indy facilities isn't state of the art. 7 years in and Indy still attracts a bigger crowd than Austin, which still being a fairly new race at a "great" track should be exceeding Indy's numbers. But it isn't. Those numbers will dwindle as the new wears off and people have seen it before.

Look at Dorna's own numbers:

http://www.motogp.com/en/news/2014/11/17/crowds-grow-as-motogp-pulls-in-...

2014 attendance at Indy exceeded Qatar, Austin, Argentina, Mugello, Assen, Misano, Motegi, Aragon, Phillip Island and Sepang.

So Indy is in the top half of attendance for all the rounds, in front of some classic tracks that likely will always be on the calendar, they always pay the fees and have state backing to continue to do so yet Indy is always the race on the chopping block.

Safety is no worse or better than any other track. No one called for Mugello to be removed after Rossi broke his leg there. We still have Sepang and Misano on the schedule after what happened at those circuits.

There's always this prejudice that because the track is inside an oval, it is inherently worse than other tracks. Take away the main straight, though, and the track is just about as long as Laguna. There's no elevation changes, which is different, but I don't get why that is a bad thing. It's just different.

Unfortunately, with the realities of a honeymoon followed by a house selling/house buying/moving chewing up virtually all my vacation time for the year, I'll be missing Indy yet again. Six years since I've been back there, dammit.

Made worse by the probable realization that this would have been the last time I'd get to see Nicky Hayden racing MotoGP. And now you're talking last time ever at this venue?

Better warn the wife that: a. The only way she's going to get to see Indy is the NASCAR race, and, b. I'm going to be a really annoyed drunk this weekend.

Everything BrickTop wrote is correct. As far as the track layout causing injuries; Ask Ben Spies or Casey Stoner about the track layout that leads to brutal crashes.

The North American Motorcycle Road Racing fan base does not have the numbers to support 3 races in American, which is another thing I have to agree with BrickTop on.

I've run trackdays, raced, worked corners and been a spectator at the club level (CRA), national level (AMA), and MotoGP races.
In the future, in order to watch MotoGP, I will probably have to go to Austin TX in 2016

Tech 3 - a negative impact of being tired seems less substantial than the very positive experience they had. They won a big event. It took something extra and "special" to do so. I see P.Espargaro especially getting a boost from it. There is something to be said for the barely tangible but essential burning away of that which obscured greatness. Fear, self doubt, pride, hubris, "trying too hard,' distraction, resentment, desperation, and errant meanderings. I expect top form from the lads.

Re Indy prior to the 2014 track changes I couldn't see why it was on the calendar at all. Now it seems up to abbasically ok track. Each of the US tracks has had its charms and deficits. I am with brick top and others that the series indeed should grow into Asia and as such we have to lose some rounds that will obviously be missed. There are only so many rounds. Same for riders in the championship eh? We are likely about to go for a bit w none from the US.

It has been a difficult period in the USA for motorcycle road racing. Many had high hopes for the beautiful track at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. It has gone out of business altogether! The National series is just now getting nursed from a failure to thrive and there are hopes there for a stronger future. Of course the economy is doing much better which is essential.

Going from 3 rounds to 1 in the USA seems a bit much. I bet we get a second round at some point. I miss Laguna even though it had shortcomings. I may get to COTA eventually but I doubt it. I have my eye on the wellbeing of the series and sport as a whole more than any smaller Consideration and look forward to thriving rounds in new markets at interesting tracks with more of the world in on the sport. It is more important.

Miller Motor sports park has not closed, it's still open and is going to be under new management next year. I hope it will be able to live up to our hopes for it's future success.

What I'm hearing is that is quite possible that the schedule could be expanded to get closer to the maximum number of races (20), AND accomadate new venues. IMS is expensive as a standalone fly-away, but I would not rule it out quite yet. Brno looked unlikely 2 weeks ago, now seems like it's back in favor.

What I'm hearing is that is quite possible that the schedule could be expanded to get closer to the maximum number of races (20), AND accomadate new venues. IMS is expensive as a standalone fly-away, but I would not rule it out quite yet. Brno looked unlikely 2 weeks ago, now seems like it's back in favor.

Coming from north of the border in Windsor Ontario, this will be our fifth year of attendance. If Dorna scuttles this round we will miss it greatly. The circuit may not be the best, but the event, the city, the ease of access, the Mile, and the venue makes the week-end a blast. Dorna surely cannot blame the event solely for lack of growth in the US. Spotty TV coverage (none in Canada) makes attracting new fans difficult. Letting Indy go certainly will not help growth.

I really feel for the US fans, particularly the Indy crowd. I'll admit that I wasn't really a fan when it first came onto the calendar, but that was through my own naivety.
Sure it may not be the best track on the calendar but the people and the city really seemed to have embraced it and turned into what seemingly is a great event. It has been said in the comments here that the perception and the reality are two different things and it will be a shame to lose Indy as a result. As an Aussie with a race on my doorstep I would hate to imagine a motogp season without Phillip Island.

In sympathising with some of the American people on this thread bemoaning the loss of Indy, I will be flying and driving several thousand kilometers to be at Phillip Island. Access is a pain in the derriere, but the track is incredible for watching motorcycles on.

COTA will be going away in 2 or 3 years time. The way that redneck, hillbilly, "businessman" Bobby screwed everyone over during construction & the impending loss of the Texas financial assistance package they're not going to be able to stay afloat. Bernie is going to drag F1 down to that new circuit in Mexico and leave Austin to rot. This isn't about the spectacle of racing or growing brand recognition in the USA, this is about money, plain and simple.

They need to free up space on the calendar? Toss out a Spanish round. The Spanish dominance has become such a farce that it is driving fans away. Any idea what international country Mexicans and most other South Americans will root for last? Yeap, the Spanish.

Good luck Dorna. Just like after Michael Jordan left the NBA and the dismal years that followed so will be your fate when Rossi retires. I'm glad I was here to see it and will watch from a distance as it dissolves.

See you all at Laguna in 2025!

http://www.foxsports.com/motor/story/financial-troubles-dogging-formula-...

Edit:

Here's the article I was attempting to link to. It is a great read regarding the financial and social situation surrounding COTA. It was originally published on Motorsport.com's website in November of last year but has since been taken down, probably because it was too incendiary. Here it is cut & pasted to a web forum.

http://www.lonestarspeedzone.com/topic/64170-motorsportcom-is-americas-o...

I believe that Ghostdog6 has summed it up pretty well, Dorna do not understand the vastness of the continent. I live in BC, Canada (North West) and regularly ride to Laguna and this year for the first and last time to Austin, 10000km round trip. Great facility, but something is missing - I much prefer Laguna, totally different atmosphere, and also the best viewing circuit on the calendar IMHO.
For me the ride is part of it but Indy is a bit too far and cost wise it would be less expensive to fly to Austen - but for the same cost I could fly to Spain or Italy - no brainer. glad I went to Austen but Europe gets my vote. Incidentally we got screwed for accommodation in Austin, normally pay excessive prices in Salinas also whereas I have found surprisingly reasonable accommodation in Europe so another reason to go there.
Laguna Seca would be a regular ride every year for me and likely will attend the WSB events there instead, very small crowd there last year incidentally.

Very interesting read posted by Your Teeth, thanks for that, explains a few things I was wondering about.
If Dorna really want to foster the sport and attendence in North America they should do something about the TV coverage - non existent up here. I have coped by subscribing to the Dorna streaming feed but doesn't help any casual fans get into watching/attending.

At least I'm goin out out in style. First time with a paddock pass!
I'm from Maine and just like David said I'd pretty much be willing to use my limited vacation to fly just about anywhere in the country for te GP (in 2010 my brother an I drove the 18 hours there!) but for some reason, I don know what it is, COTA just doesn't seem as appealing to me. I mean I'll go but (never been to Texas anyway) just not as excited I guess. I would probably rather do Leguna Seca.
This is my 4th Indy I hope it's not the last

It will be a tremendous loss if Dorna chooses to drop Indianapolis from the MGP schedule. The track is fan-friendly, with abundant parking across the street from the track, and ushers who greet you as if they are really glad you are there. My son and I had General Admission passes in 2009, but we were made to feel welcomed and appreciated. While sitting in the grandstands at Turn 1, an usher asked if we would like to watch the race from the roof of the grandstand. How could we say no? He took us up the stairs where we got to watch a portion of the race from a great vantage point.
That same weekend, we got to see dirt track racing at the Indy Mile, and watch Kenny Roberts relive his winning Indy Mile race on the TZ750.
I know that the Indy Mile no longer coincides with the MGP race, and that the Kenny Roberts ride will probably never be repeated. However, I hope that fans can continue to see great Moto GP racing at IMS in the future.

I find it ironic that orginally, the RSV4 evolved from a bike designed to compete in MotoGP, to a production bike racing in the WSBK Series, and now back to a GP bike.

There are far too many races on the Iberian Peninsula. Valencia needs to go, and so does Jerez.

Finally, I'm a big Laguna supporter, but if the US were to host just on GP from now on, I would go with a rotating policy between COTA, Laguna, and Miller. That's jst my pie in the sky dream. Speaking of dreams, does anyone else feel intrigued to watch a MotoGP bike go around Road America and Sears Point?

I've gone to all three of those races, plus other forms of U.S. Bike racing every year they've been available. Before it was all three, I was going to the two. From that perspective, I can tell you I see many of the same faces at all of them. I know not everyone has that opportunity, but I can tell you there is a large group of fans that does put in the travel.

Define "large". 10,000? 20,000? Or more like 1000-2000? You're looking at race day attendances of 60k at both US races. Of those 120k people, how many are at both races? It's not a significant amount. A few thousand at best. The percentage is small.

Didn't Dorna announce a multi-year extension at IMS last year?

If that's the case, then how do they back out of the contract? Pay IMS $$$?

Or is the contract not even worth the paper that it's written on?

As I understand it, the deal can be terminated by either side with mutual consent. The deal agreed stipulates that IMS must pay Dorna a set fee (I don't know how much it is, but it will be in the region of €4 million per event). If IMS is unable or unwilling to pay that amount, then they can terminate the contract. I suspect Dorna is perfectly happy to go there as long as they are getting paid.