The cloud hanging over the future of the Jerez MotoGP has lifted a little. Today, Dorna announced that an agreement had been reached with the Circuito de Jerez to allow the iconic Spanish circuit to host the MotoGP round scheduled for April 29th, 2012, confirming the calendar updates announced earlier this month. The 2012 round will go ahead as scheduled, despite the ongoing financial woes at the circuit.
Beyond the upcoming season, the future of the race is not entirely clear, however. Rumors persist that Jerez will be dropped from the MotoGP calendar from 2013, as new circuits such as Austin in Texas and Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina are added to the calendar. With Aragon, Barcelona and Valencia all confirmed through 2016, having four races in Spain is seen as detracting from MotoGP's stature as a World Championship.
The will exists to continue beyond that, however. In the Dorna press release, the company's boss Carmelo Ezpeleta expresses his hope that the future of the race can be secured through 2016. The Andalucian regional government and the Jerez city council are even more adamant, with the city's daily newspaper Diario de Jerez reporting that an agreement has already been reached. According to the Diario de Jerez, the Andalucian regional government is to pay Dorna 4 million euros to keep the race in Jerez through 2016, with that money securing not just the race, but also a large amount of exposure for the Andalucia Tourist Board. Andalucia will be given track signage at Assen, Brno, Le Mans and Sepang, with the possibility of more trackside advertising at the Sachsenring and Silverstone, two of the Andalucia Tourist Board's main target markets. Alongside the trackside advertising, TV commercials will be shown in 240 countries ahead of the Jerez round of MotoGP promoting Andalucia as a holiday destination.
Just how final the agreement for 2013-2016 is remains to be seen, but the good news for race fans is that much is being done to keep the Jerez circuit on the calendar. Given Jerez' iconic status and flowing layout, it would be a tragedy if it were to be dropped from the schedule.
Below is the text of the press release confirming the Jerez MotoGP round for 2012:
Jerez to host 2012 Spanish Grand Prix
An agreement has been reached that ensures the Circuito de Jerez will play host to the Grand Prix of Spain again in 2012. Continued negotiations will aim to ensure the inclusion of the event on the MotoGP calendar for a further four years, as is desired and anticipated by all parties concerned.
The popular Spanish venue traditionally marks the first European GP on the calendar, and Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta is pleased to have arrived at an agreement with the city of Jerez for the upcoming season. "We are delighted to confirm that the 2012 Grand Prix of Spain will be held at the Circuito de Jerez, a very special locale for the MotoGP World Championship."
"I'd like to thank the Junta de Andalucía and Jerez de la Frontera City Council for their support in working toward securing this iconic event," added Ezpeleta. "We'll now look ahead to the future of the event and focus on working together to reach an agreement up until 2016."