The Texas round of MotoGP is to go ahead. The race, due to take place at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas has been confirmed for April 21st, 2013, with Dorna and the Circuit of the Americas issuing a joint press release announcing the date. The race in Texas was one of the two races marked as being subject to confirmation, but today's announcement leaves just the race in Argentina and the Jerez round to be confirmed.
Confirmation of the race comes despite the ongoing legal action between Kevin Schwantz and the Circuit of the Americas. That legal action should have no effect on the race actually taking place, however. The lawsuit filed by Schwantz against COTA will take some time to actually get in front of a judge, and the most probable outcome is that money will change hands to settle the deal, either one way or another.
The signing of the Austin contract leaves just Argentina and Jerez to be sorted out. The Jerez deal is a question of paperwork and, most likely, money; it is inconceivable that Dorna would pull out of the deal to host the first European round of the season in Jerez, where it has been for several years now. Argentina, on the other hand, is far more complex: there are reports from local Argentine sources that work on the facilities at the circuit is slow, but the bigger problem is political. The expropriation of Repsol's Argentinian subsidiary Repsol YPF by the Argentine government has deeply upset the Spanish oil giant, and Repsol has threatened not to allow the teams it backs to attend the race, saying that they cannot be certain that their property will be safe, a claim which the local organizers have denied.
Below is the press release announcing the MotoGP race in Texas:
MotoGP™ to race in Texas in 2013 at the Circuit of The Americas™
AUSTIN, Texas (Oct. 3, 2012) – Circuit of The Americas today announced that the world’s premier motorcycle racing World Championship, MotoGP™, will join its roster of racing events next spring with the three-day series set for April 19-21, 2013, at the purpose-built Grand Prix venue. With the addition of the MotoGP series, the new circuit will be the first North American racing venue to host both two-and four-wheeled World Championship events in one year’s time.
MotoGP, the pinnacle of all motorcycle World Championships, consists of 18 races in 13 countries on four continents with pan-global television coverage. Nine nationalities of the world’s most skilled riders, including current U.S. riders Colin Edwards, Ben Spies and 2006 MotoGP World Champion Nicky Hayden, compete with cutting-edge, prototype motorcycle technology produced by Ducati, Yamaha and Honda, as well as the new CRT regulation machines from the likes of FTR, Suter and Aprilia. The series traditionally holds three races, including Moto2 and Moto3 competitions, during each event for various classes of motorcycles based on engine size.
Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive officer for Dorna Sports, commercial rights holder for the MotoGP series, is extremely happy to add the Austin Circuit to the official MotoGP schedule. “We are excited to be working with Circuit of The Americas to expand our programming in the United States and bring our series to an exceptional new Grand Prix facility in Texas. We see tremendous opportunities to market MotoGP and grow its fan base through this agreement and know Circuit of The Americas is the right promoter to help us achieve that goal.”
Circuit President Steve Sexton added, “The Circuit of The Americas team is delighted to introduce yet another world-renowned racing series to our 2013 event calendar—one we know will be hugely popular with fans coming to experience MotoGP for the first time at our state-of-the-art sports and entertainment complex in Austin. MotoGP has a worldwide fan base with more than two million followers watching races in person each year. We’re confident it will be a great addition to our programming and draw tens of thousands of people to Central Texas, creating yet another major event with significant economic impact for our region. We want to extend our thanks to the Austin Sports Commission for its help in securing yet another first-class event for our city and for helping us become the first U.S. racing venue to host two World Championship motorsport events.”
MotoGP’s reach extends to more than 200 countries and territories that receive live or same-day delayed broadcasts of the MotoGP events, with the coverage delivered to more than 337 million households worldwide.
MotoGP 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, who hails from Kentucky, rides for the Ducati Factory Team and said he’s eager to try out the new Austin circuit. “It’s great for riders and fans to have another MotoGP event in the United States, and Circuit of The Americas will give us a chance to expose more of our homegrown fan base to MotoGP in an up-close-and-personal way,” Hayden noted. “I love competing at new, fresh tracks and am really looking forward to racing at the Austin circuit.”
Texan Colin Edwards races for the NGM Mobile Forward Racing team and their CRT project. The former World Superbike Champion said a MotoGP race at a new circuit just two hours from his home in Conroe, Texas (near Houston), means he can actually “drive to work” for a change. “Adding a race to the U.S. schedule makes a statement that MotoGP is working to expand it influence on American soil. The best way to grow our sport is to add races, and with events on the East and West Coasts—and now one in Middle America—it’s the perfect opportunity for more fans to see us in action. Plus, my family is really looking forward to jumping in a pick-up truck and driving up to Austin to see me compete.”
Rider Ben Spies, who calls Longview, Texas, “home,” is also excited about the 2013 schedule. “Who wouldn’t be excited to have a MotoGP race in their home state? I hope all of my CMRA, WERA and AMA racing friends and family storm the track. It will be so easy for me to cruise down to Circuit of The Americas from my house in Dallas.”
Tickets for the MotoGP event at Circuit of The Americas go on sale Oct. 16, 2012, will range in price from $133 to $199 and be available for purchase through Ticketmaster. Patrons with Circuit of The Americas Personal Seat Licenses will receive price discounts on MotoGP tickets. For more information, visit www.CircuitofTheAmericas.com/tickets.
About Circuit of The Americas
Circuit of The Americas will be a world-class destination for performance, entertainment, education and business. It will be the first purpose-built Grand Prix facility in the United States designed for any and all classes of racing, from motor power to human power, and be the U.S. home to the 2012 FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX™ Nov. 16-18.
The Circuit of The Americas’ master plan features a variety of permanent structures designed for business, education, entertainment and race use. Its signature element will be a 3.4-mile circuit track. Other support buildings will include an expansive outdoor live music space, a conference center, a banquet hall as well as a state-of-the-art medical facility. Future proposed amenities include a driving/riding experience, a motorsports driving club, kart track, grand plaza event center and tower, and a trackside recreational vehicle park. For more information and downloadable video, audio and photos, visit: www.CircuitofTheAmericas.com.
Established as a World Championship by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) in 1949, MotoGP is now into its 63rd year. It is the pinnacle of motorcycle championships in the world and the premier-class of three racing classes that take to the track on a typical Grand Prix weekend. MotoGP has been administrated by commercial rights holder Dorna Sports under the supervision of governing body, the FIM, since 1992.
MotoGP has a rich history with Grand Prix events having taken place in every corner of the world. Italy, Japan, Great Britain, Spain, the United States and Australia are just some of the nationalities that have produced high numbers in terms of race victories and world titles in its long history. Information about MotoGP can be found online at www.motogp.com.