The cold temperatures at Phillip Island two weeks ago once again raised the issue of whether it is wise to stage the Australian Grand Prix there right at the tail end of the Antipodean winter, when the weather can be very cold and wet. Valentino Rossi led the calls for the race to be moved to the start of the MotoGP season, which would be the Australian late summer.
Dorna CEO was very receptive to the idea of moving the race to earlier in the year, but his hands are tied by a couple of factors, meaning that this change is unlikely to happen for 2011. However, in an interview with Israeli TV journalist Tammy Gorali, Ezpeleta revealed that he will by pushing to make the change for the 2012 season. "For sure, we will change this for the following year if we can't change for next year," Ezpeleta told Gorali, adding that his preference would be for the race to start the season.
The problem Ezpeleta faces is that the Qatar circuit already has a contract with Dorna to stage the first race of the season, the MotoGP year always opening under the lights at Losail. Ezpeleta said that he will be talking to the QMMF, who own the Losail circuit, to get this changed, and he was confident they would not object. "We will talk with Qatar about this," Ezpeleta told Gorali, adding "we have a good relationship with Qatar." But the change is unlikely to happen for 2011, Ezpeleta said. "Most probably, the  calendar will stay the same. We will make an announcement before Valencia."
Ezpeleta faces a bigger challenge to moving the Phillip Island race than just Dorna's contract with the Qatari federation, however. The Formula One season holds the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne in late March, right around the period that the MotoGP round could be moved to. The Victoria government may not be keen on staging two such popular events so close together, and having MotoGP and Formula One within a few weeks could pose a formidable logistical problem. Formula One is unlikely to move its race to cater to MotoGP, though the continuing feud between Bernie Ecclestone and the state of Victoria about funding the Melbourne street circuit could see changes made to the F1 calendar anyway.
There is, of course, also the small matter of the Phillip Island WSBK round which takes place in early March, but just as MotoGP must bow to Formula 1, the Phillip Island organizers will likely give up World Superbike's spot on the schedule to MotoGP, and WSBK will be switched to the end of the year.
Moving Phillip Island to the start of the season would solve a number of issues for Dorna. Firstly, by having the first round of MotoGP in Australia, the season could get underway much earlier, around early March. This, in turn, would mean that Qatar could be run a couple of weeks later, in early April, when nighttime temperatures rise a little, reducing the risk of dew forming on the track. An earlier start and a later date for Qatar would be significant gains for the MotoGP calendar.