Just hours after the Brno circuit announced that it would not be hosting World Championship motorcycle racing, it looked like another MotoGP round would bite the dust. A news report from the Bangkok Post stated that the Thai MotoGP round at Buriram had been canceled for 2021, and that the race would resume again from 2022.
It turns out, however, that this was a mistranslation on the part of the Bangkok Post. According to Thai PPTTV reporter Une Boonmee, the government spokesperson was explaining that the budget set aside for MotoGP in 2020 had been reused for 2021, rather than the 2021 racing having been rescheduled.
That did require a certain amount of budgetary and contractual reshuffling, however. The cancellation of the 2020 round meant that the three-year contract that was supposed to run from 2018-2020 had been extended to 2021, the third year of the contract taking place this year, after last year's race did not take place.
That also meant that the five-year contract that would see Buriram hold races from 2021-2025 also had to be shifted up a year, the new contract running from 2022-2026 instead.
Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta also confirmed to Thomas Baujard of French magazine Moto Journal that the 2021 MotoGP round at Buriram is still scheduled to go ahead. "There was a miscommunication: the 2021 Thailand Grand Prix is still on." Subject to the vagaries of the Covid-19 pandemic, of course, like the entire 2021 MotoGP season.
The other details in the Bangkok Post story, normally missing from contract announcements, make for interesting reading. A spokesperson for the Thai government told the Bangkok Post that the fee to host the race would be 900 million Thai Baht for the five years. At the current exchange rate, that is approximately €25 million for five years, or €5 million a year. That is lower than the between €6 million and €9 million being asked of most other circuits.
It was an investment worth making, however. The Thai government said that the 2018 race generated 3 billion Baht, or €83 million, while the revenue from the 2019 race increased to 3.45 billion Baht, or over €95 million.