After news emerged at the end of last week that Kevin Schwantz is suing the Circuit of the Americas (COTA), the track in Austin, Texas where the third US GP is to be held in 2013, attention turned to the details of just who held the contract to organize the event. In their lawsuit, Schwantz' company 3FourTexasMGP alleged that the COTA had attempted to defraud him out of the rights to organize the race, something which the circuit denied in a press statement, with COTA claiming that Schwantz had never held a contract to organize the event.
In a statement issued by Dorna, the Spanish rights holders to the MotoGP series clarified the current legal situation between the various parties. The statement shows that both Schwantz and COTA are right: Dorna states that it signed a contract with both COTA and Schwantz' company 3FourTexasMGP for the event, with Schwantz being granted the rights to organize the race, subject to being able to show he had come to an agreement with the circuit. However, when asked by Dorna to provide the proof that he held a contract with COTA which would allow him to organize the MotoGP race there, Schwantz was unable to, and the contract was then passed to the Circuit of the Americas. COTA currently holds the rights to organize the event.
From Dorna's statement, it appears that there is no direct threat to the race to be held in Austin, Texas, from 2013 onwards, but that does not mean that legal proceedings do not have a chance of success. The suit will concentrate on what went on between 3FourTexasMGP and COTA, and whether Schwantz' failure to supply Dorna with a contract was down to Schwantz or COTA.
Below is the official statement issued by Dorna this morning:
Dorna statement regarding 3four Texas MGP LLC and COTA
In response to 1993 500cc world champion Kevin Schwantz and his company 3four Texas MGP LLC filing a lawsuit against the new Circuit of the Americas (COTA), Dorna Sports S.L., a third party in the matter, wishes to release the following statement.
Dorna Sports S.L. entered into a Promoters Contract with 3four Texas MGP LLC in connection with the organization of a FIM MotoGP™ Grand Prix at The Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, on February 11th 2011 to be effective from the 2013 season. Dorna understood that 3four Texas MGP LLC had an agreement with COTA to run the event.
On the first days of June 2012, Dorna required 3four Texas MGP LLC to provide satisfactory evidence before June 28th about the company having obtained all the necessary rights, licenses and permits related with the availability of the Circuit of the Americas.
This is a standard procedure when the Promoter is not the owner of the Circuit.
3four Texas MGP LLC was not able to provide such evidence to Dorna (apparently no agreement had ever been entered into between 3four Texas MGP LLC and COTA, the owner of the circuit) within the term granted for such purposes, and therefore Dorna had no other alternative than to terminate the February 11th 2011 Promoters Contract due to such Event of Default. The termination was effective from July 2nd 2012.
As Dorna Sports S.L. and the FIM are interested in a FIM MotoGP Grand Prix in Texas, COTA was then offered the opportunity to become the Promoter of such an event through the signing of a Promoters Agreement. Conversations continue at this moment.