In a somewhat surprising development, Silverstone has signed up to host the British round of MotoGP for three more years. The Northamptonshire circuit is to hold the race through 2020.
Since the British round was held earlier this year, it looked like the race would go to Donington. The Leicestershire track had shown renewed interest in the race, after the circuit had been bought by MSV, who also run the BSB series and own several other British tracks. Hosting the series at Donington would have required upgrades in a number of areas, however, and making those in time for August next year would have been difficult.
A delegation from the Silverstone circuit had flown to Valencia to finalize the details with Dorna. Dorna had asked for the track to be completely resurfaced, after the riders had complained about the bumps after this year's race. Silverstone compromised by promising to resurface part of the track, according to British publication MCN, and were given a three-year contract extension.
Despite the new deal with Silverstone, where the British Grand Prix is to be held in the long term is still open. MSV has expressed an interest in upgrading the facilities at Donington Park, and the three-year duration of Silverstone's contract would be a large enough window for MSV to complete the necessary work. The bidding war which had been expected this year could well reopen in a couple of years' time.
Below is the official press release from Dorna announcing the Silverstone deal:
Silverstone Circuit confirmed to host British Grand Prix for the next 3 years
Dorna Sports is pleased to announce that Silverstone Circuit will continue to host the British round of the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship for the next three years. The 2018 event will take place over the weekend of the 24 - 26 August, with the contract securing the future of MotoGP™ racing in the UK following the termination of the Circuit of Wales agreement.
Stuart Pringle, Managing Director of Silverstone, commented: “A lot of time and money has been invested in recent years to ensure MotoGP fans, teams and riders enjoy what Silverstone has to offer and we are delighted to have secured the contract to 2020. Two wheel racing is as much a part of Silverstone’s heritage as four wheel racing and we are looking forward to welcoming the Championship and its fans back to Silverstone next August. We have been working on a family friendly pricing policy, including the re-introduction of under 11 year olds go free, which we hope will be well received by fans and which will launch via silverstone.co.uk at 10:00 am on Monday 13 November.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna Sports CEO, added: “Silverstone is an iconic British circuit, so naturally we are pleased to be able to continue racing at this track. The United Kingdom is an important market for Dorna and has to remain on the MotoGP calendar, especially with the introduction of the British Talent Cup next year, which we hope will inspire the next generation of young British talent. We look forward to giving fans more action over the British Grand Prix weekend and I’m sure fans will be as happy as we are that Silverstone remains on the calendar for the next three years.”