May 10, 2013 / 2:42 PM / 6 years ago

INTERVIEW-Motorcycling-MotoGP looks to Brazil and Asia

BARCELONA, May 10 (Reuters) - MotoGP hopes to add a Brazilian grand prix and more Asian races to the calendar after Argentina returns next season, with Spain and the United States likely to lose rounds, the sport’s commercial head said on Friday.

“We will go next year to Argentina and most probably in the near future to Brazil, and then we are talking about other venues in Asia,” Carmelo Ezpeleta, the chief executive of MotoGP organisers Dorna, told Reuters at the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix.

“But for sure in 2014 will be Argentina.”

Argentina last hosted a motorcycle grand prix in Buenos Aires in 1999 and was due to be on the calendar this season at the new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Santiago del Estero province.

The race was struck off last November as a result of a row between Spain and Argentina over the nationalisation of the Argentine interests of Spanish oil giant Repsol, the main sponsors of the works Honda team.

Teams are due to test there in July.

Brazil has not been on the calendar since a 1992 race at Sao Paulo’s Interlagos circuit.

Ezpeleta said the plans now were for a race in Brasilia.

“They are ready to do it but we don’t know if they are able to make all the works before the end of this year,” said the Spaniard.

“We are still looking for 2014 but I think it will be more probably for 2015.”

Brazil is hosting the soccer World Cup next year, with Brasilia one of the venues.

Ezpeleta said India, whose Buddh circuit near New Delhi hosts the country’s Formula One grand prix, was not on the immediate horizon.

“We are there with the Superbikes (this year) and we will see what is happening,” he said. “Depending on what is the result and everything we will see if we can go there or not.

“The circuit is very good and safe,” he added.


Thailand was one likely candidate in Asia, with a circuit expected to be ready by the end of 2014.

“There are other projects in Asia also,” said Ezpeleta, without giving any details. The championship currently visits Malaysia, Qatar, Australia and Japan in the region.

This year’s MotoGP calendar has 19 races and the MotoGP chief said 20 would be the maximum although 18 was the ideal number. Spain currently has four races, while the United States has three.

“There is not a lot of possibility to continue with four races in Spain...we don’t want to pass 18 if possible but it depends on many things,” said Ezpeleta.

“I don’t think we will continue with three (in America),” he added, indicating that the Indianapolis Grand Prix was the one most likely to disappear.

“The Austin (Texas) track is fantastic and we will continue with them, we have a five-year contract with them and we will honour that,” he said.

“Laguna Seca (in California) is special also. It is a particular grand prix but we think the atmosphere and everything at Laguna is interesting to us.”

Spain and Italy are the dominant countries in MotoGP, with last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix podium entirely Spanish with Dani Pedrosa, Marc Marquez and double world champion Jorge Lorenzo the top three.

Ezpeleta said he would naturally prefer to see a wider range of nationalities fighting for the podium but also recalled a time when there were few or no Spanish riders in the top category.

“The only thing we can do is to try to improve young people from other nationalities and the only ones doing something is us (Dorna),” he added.

“In the history of Dorna, we never helped any Spanish people to race and we help a lot of non-Spanish people...obviously we prefer as organisers more nationalities but we can’t kill anybody.”

Asked whether a quota system could be introduced in future, Ezpeleta shrugged. “Maybe, if things continue like that, we can consider it in the future.

“But this is not the problem. If we have more bikes, there will be more people. In Moto2 and Moto3 there are people from many nationalities and they are doing well.” (Editing by Clare Fallon)

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