Brno Set To Continue As MotoGP Venue For 2015 And Beyond

MotoGP looks certain to be returning to the Brno circuit for 2015, after the local region of South Moravia guaranteed financing for the race for next year. In addition, talks are continuing to extend financing for the race beyond the 2015 season.

The race in Brno had been in doubt for some time now. The circuit, owned by Karel Abraham Sr, father of Cardion AB rider, has struggled to pay the sanctioning fee demanded by Dorna, despite being the best-attended round of the series (over 142,000 turned up to watch the race in 2013 at the spacious, wooded Czech circuit). The circuit has previously received funding from the Czech government, but that has been withdrawn.

Now, the South Moravian region has stepped in to guarantee the 2.5 million euro sanctioning fee. The event reportedly generates around 35 million euros in revenue for businesses in the area, and is an important contributor to the local economy. Keeping the MotoGP round at the circuit is key for the regional authorities.

The deal agreed guarantees funding for the 2015 round, but talks will continue for future races. Both Dorna and the circuit intend to sign a long-term deal to keep the race at the track.

Below is the press release issued by Dorna explaining the situation:

Brno closing in on fresh MotoGP™ race deal

The legendary Brno Circuit is set to remain on the MotoGP™ calendar for the coming years following negotiations between Dorna Sports, commercial rights holder of the FIM MotoGP World Championship, and officials at the venue this weekend.

The Czech event was first part of the series in 1965, while racing on the modern-day circuit took place from 1987. As MotoGP gathered at Brno for this year’s bwin Grand Prix České republiky, officials looked to secure the immediate future of the event. Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta met with Mr.Stanislav Juranek, Vice-governor of the South Moravian Region and Mrs. Ivana Ulmanova, CEO Brno Circuit, concluding that funding will soon be in place for at least the 2015 race.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, declared: “I appreciate the decision of The Council of South Moravian Region and personal initiative of the South Moravian governor Mr. Michal Hasek to guarantee funding of the Czech Grand Prix in 2015. I must express my thanks to the vice-governor of the South Moravian Region, Mr. Stanislav Juranek, who informed me about the decision made by the Council. We also discussed the principle of securing the guarantee. The positive information I have received this weekend comes in complete contrast to the information we had received at Sachsenring and therefore completely changes the situation. I consider it to be very positive; it will now be necessary to discuss further steps with the Brno Circuit and with other partners. I cannot predict our final decision at this very moment, but I can assure all MotoGP fans and visitors to the Czech Grand Prix that our primary interest is to keep the MotoGP race in Brno as one of the traditional and highly appreciated events on the World Championship calendar. Further negotiations with regards to firm details of the co-operation with the South Moravian region will be held after the South Moravian assembly, which must approve the decision of the Council. We expect this to happen in the second half of September.”

Mrs. Ivana Ulmanova, CEO, Brno Circuit commented: “I highly appreciate Mr. Ezpeleta’s willingness to meet representatives of the South Moravian Region and accept their guarantee of the MotoGP race at the Brno Circuit. The previous statement we made to Dorna was influenced by the current uncertainty about funding a MotoGP race for 2015. I must express my thanks to Carmelo Ezpeleta for waiting on a final decision about the Czech GP until almost the last possible day. This gives us enough time to negotiate and finally to find a solution. We now have renewed positivity that we can guarantee next year’s MotoGP race. I hope that the effort we spend in keeping live the tradition of the Czech Grand Prix event will be the best evidence for Dorna Sports representatives that we are prepared to stay in the World Championship as a one of the best organised and most popular MotoGP events.”

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It's one of the modern classic circuits, fantastic to watch both on TV or in person. I went in about 2006, sat in the stadium section on race day, what a blast.

As an Aussie we were trackside as a part of a 7 week European trip back in 2011, it was one of the highlights of the trip and would go again any time, Brno is a lovely city and the facilities trackside were wonderful and everyone we met was very friendly. so I am so pleased to see this race continue :)

Just to think that Dorna would have dropped the best attended track and also one of the most popular tracks among riders because they try to drain as much money as they possibly can from event organisers. I see that Silverstone is precisely pulling out because of this. Also, already there are hardly any national tv stations (or sports channels like Eurosport) left that are broadcasting MotoGP because of Dorna's asking price. So now just the die-hards that buy expensive video passes on or something similar are watching. Catching occasional new viewers that may become fans is almost impossible this way. I thought Dorna was supposed to be a promotor of the sport.

Obviously the whole championship needs to be paid for somehow and surely I am simplifying things, but to me this seems short-time thinking and pleasing shareholders with maximising quick profits.

Anyway, I'm very happy that Brno will be on the calendar again after all next year! Almost always great racing and beautiful to watch, which is especially nice in this era of concrete megastructures, folded stadium tracks and endless acres of tarmac with a circuit painted on it.

Well, as our home track (Pole Position Travel) and where we started in 2002, we were a wee bit worried over this. I genuinely believe we owe our success for having started at what we still (trying to be objective here!) believe is the best all-rounder: great track, super value, friendly city and people, fantastic beer, and given that a huge percent of the paddock girls working full time are Czech I'll leave you to your own conclusions... Mr Juranek joined us this weekend at the T1 Hospitality tent (those of you who made our opening party know this venue) and had the opportunity to see first hand what he helped save.
If you haven't been to this event, go.... We'll give Motomatters readers a great deal --- how about it Dave, can we sponsor a Motomatters party there? :-)

Anyhow, you can imagine the relief around our office.
(Of course Silverstone is our #2 event. grr... Like when the replaced Launga Seca - 70-100 VIPS - with Argentina - 2 VIPs. 2x grrr)

That's all? Maybe I'm missing something here, but I was expecting a way bigger sanctioning fee. If 140,000 people attend this race, that's just €18 per visitor over the whole weekend. Never mind camping fees, concessions, souvenirs, vendor passes, etc.

I get that "Dorna's greedy" and blah blah (I'm on board with that, if for nothing else other than their ridiculously short-sighted policy on YouTube video highlights and the like), but why was there ever a doubt from the track that they'd be able to cover this sanctioning fee with attendance numbers like that? I understand Laguna-Seca balking at the fee (although I'm still crushed by it...), what with their average attendance being a third of that of Brno, but how do you not make ends meet with race day attendance higher than three-day attendance in Monterey?

Either way, glad this track is sticking on the calendar. Hope I have the time off/money to get over there for the race some year.