The Circuit of the Americas in Austin isn't just a great place for racing, it's also a great place for drama, legal fights, dueling egos and other assorted weirdness. The latest round of this came last week when MotoGP champion Kevin Schwantz said circuit officials tried to kick him out of the circuit when he tried to attend a test session there.
First, some backstory. Schwantz, a Texan and 1993 motorcycling world champion, is currently involved in a lawsuit against the circuit. He says circuit officials have undermined his effort to promote the MotoGP race there, which will be held next month. According to the Austin American-Statesman, Schwantz was around when the race was first announced two years ago, but that was when his pal Tavo Hellmund was a partner there. Schwantz and Hellmund both had input on the track design.
Hellmund was later forced out and received a settlement last year. The circuit also went with a new MotoGP promotional company, not Schwantz's.
Back to last week. Schwantz said that he attended the test session with credentials from the Attack and Honda teams. Here's what he said on his Facebook page:
While there, CotA security informed me that CotA management requested I leave the track immediately and was not welcomed at the circuit. CotA's security force also accused me of criminal trespass and warned I would be arrested the next time I entered the track.
This comes as a tremendous disappointment to Honda, Blake Young, and myself. Especially because I am single-handedly responsible for bringing MotoGP to Texas and for the initial design of the facility to accommodate MotoGP racing."
Schwantz told the Statesman that he did not leave, and testing continued as scheduled until that evening.
Circuit officials told a different story in their response:
The MotoGP test that was hosted by the Circuit last week was a private event, and open only to participating teams and invited media. Mr. Schwantz was not invited to attend the session by Circuit of The Americas, and as a private property owner, the Circuit determines who has access to its facility.
Mr. Schwantz does not have any relationship with Circuit of The Americas. He is not one of the investors who spent $400 million to design and build the facility.
Finally, Circuit of The Americas is the organization responsible for bringing MotoGP to Texas through its promotional agreement with the commercial rights holder Dorna.
See what I mean? Lots of drama.
Schwantz told the paper that if he gets credentials from a team to attend next month's MotoGP race, “at that point COTA can stand aside.” We'll see if they try to give him the boot again come April.
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