France will continue to host MotoGP for at least another seven years. Today, Dorna announced that agreement had been reached to extend the contract with race organizer Claude Michy through 2021, adding five years to the deal which was due to expire after the 2017 round.
The new deal does not guarantee that the race will continue to be held at the Le Mans circuit, however, as the contract is with the organizer, who negotiates separate deals with the Le Mans track. The chances of it being moved elsewhere are slim, however. The two alternative circuits capable of hosting a Grand Prix in France are Magny-Cours and Paul Ricard. Both feature interesting layouts, but suffer with location, as neither are very close to large population centers. Paul Ricard is better situated, close to the French coast, and therefore with accommodation reasonably nearby. But Paul Ricard suffers the disadavantage of having all of its gravel traps replaced with hard asphalted run off, ideal for cars, but not so good for motorcycles.
Below is the press release issued by Dorna on the new contract:
French Grand Prix contract extended to 2021
On the eve of the fifteenth successive edition of the Grand Prix de France held at the circuit of Le Mans, Claude Michy, promoter of the event, and FIM MotoGP™ World Championship rights holder Dorna Sports SL are pleased to announce they will extend their collaboration for a further five years, from 2017 to 2021.
The French Grand Prix at Le Mans has one of the longest traditions of Grand Prix Racing in the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar - Le Mans was first used for a Grand Prix event in 1969, when the 500 race was won by Giacomo Agostini and the circuit has been used for the MotoGP™ event for the last 14 years in succession, starting in 2000.
While the 2014 edition of the Grand Prix is set to deliver another great show in all three World Championship classes, Dorna Sports SL CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta met with Claude and Philibert Michy to agree on a new contract extension and ensure the French Grand Prix a slot on the calendar until 2021.
Claude and Philibert Michy stated: "The French Grand Prix is a key international event on the French sporting calendar and our close collaboration with Dorna Sports is instrumental in making it a success, so we're very happy to ensure the future of the French round of the World Championship."
"We have a great relationship with Claude Michy and PHA and the French Grand Prix has been steadily building on its success at such a legendary circuit as Le Mans," said Mr Ezpeleta. "We are pleased to continue to work with Claude until 2021 and maintain a key GP on the calendar," he added.