Qatar Extends MotoGP Grand Prix Hosting Gig For 10 More Years
Jorge Lorenzo, Valentino Rossi, and the entire Movistar Yamaha MotoGP team are understandably getting all the headlines after another dominant 1-2 performance at the Catalunya Grand Prix in Barcelona. But a separate news involving MotoGP is making the rounds that should get fans of the Qatar Grand Prix more reason to get excited.
The Losail International Circuit in the Middle Eastern country has topped-up on its current hosting deal for another 10 years, extending the circuit’s hosting duties until 2027. Dorna Sports CEO Mr Carmelo Ezpeleta and QMMF President Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Attiyah made the joint announcement on the morning of the Catalunya GP.
The existing deal was set to expire in 2016 so having this extension in the back pocket for another 10 years ensures that MotoGP racing will continue to take place in Qatar for the duration of the extension.
Part of the agreement reached by Dorna and Qatar organizers would be to continue holding the race at night, a far better or more engaging spectacle than it would have been if it was held in afternoon. The Qatar GP will also continue in its role as the season-opening race for MotoGP, adding another layer of intrigue for MotoGP fans as it is the first time they get to see the teams race in new bikes and, at least in some cases, new riders.
Continuing the Qatar GP’s status as the season-opening race also has its drawbacks, although organizers have shown a willingness to look past them, particularly the schedule chain that pretty much locks the season opener in March, because of the enormous financial and tourist gains the race brings to the country.
With the new deal in place, the Qatar Grand Prix will be part of the MotoGP calendar for 23 years, beginning with its addition to the calendar back in 2004. It began acting as the season-opening race in 2007 and a year later, became the first ever MotoGP race to be held at night. The Qatar GP is to remain a night race as agreed upon by Dorna and QMMF. More importantly, it will also stay as the season-opening race in the foreseeable future.
Continue reading to read more about MotoGP’s 10-year extension with the Qatar Grand Prix.
Why it matters
With so many other locations struggling to retain their Grand Prix hosting obligations, it’s refreshing to see a location find security in this aspect. Qatar has become one of the staple rounds of the MotoGP calendar and with this 10-year extension, I think that it’s safe to say that it’s going to be regarded as one of the premier stops of upcoming MotoGP seasons.
I have to give credit to Dorna and the QMFF for not dragging this extension further than it should, hammering out all the details one year before the current deal was supposed to expire. With this deal in place, the whole series can now rest easy knowing that the season-opening race of all MotoGP seasons from here until 2027 has been determined.
That kind of stability is a welcome respite for a sport that has seen its fair share of controversies over the past few years, specifically when it relates to other Grand Prix events that have struggled to maintain their spot in the calendar.
So rest easy, Qatar. You not only get to host MotoGP until 2027, but you also retain your status as one of the few night races in the calendar and more importantly, the opening round of any MotoGP season for the next decade or so.
It’s a win-win situation for all parties concerned and I’m just glad it got settled before the expiration of the current deal. At least we now know where to go should we decide to attend a season-opening MotoGP race in the next 10 years.