Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced today that MotoGP will not be returning there for 2016. Per IMS, it was a mutual decision with MotoGP rights holder Dorna Sports. Changes to the series schedule and sanctioning fees essentially priced IMS out of hosting the race.
IMS President J. Douglas Boles had this to say of the decision in a track press release this morning:
This outcome reflects the best interests of both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Dorna Sports. We are proud of our efforts to increase attendance in recent years and successfully host a truly international sporting and cultural event. We’re also thankful to Dorna Sports for its strong support and partnership since 2008. However, the timing is right to pursue other opportunities that drive greater revenue for both the Speedway and our Central Indiana economy.
Sadly, this means yet MotoGP is moving on from yet another venue in the United States. This leaves Circuit of the Americas as the only MotoGP race in the U.S.
MotoGP has been going to IMS since September 2008.
This news is even more disappointing given that this year’s Indianapolis race was fantastic, with a late-race pass by Marquez for the win. 2014’s race even won the designation of Best Grand Prix of the season from Dorna.
Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta told IMS that he hasn’t ruled out the facility for future events. From IMS’ press release:
Bringing MotoGP to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a tremendously rewarding experience. The historic track, professional staff and welcoming host community produced an annual event that was enjoyed by all. While both sides recognize it’s the right time to pause this relationship, the door is not closed on future collaborations together should current circumstances change.
Everyone knows that hosting a MotoGP race is a costly endeavor. According to the Indianapolis Star, Laguna Seca and Indianapolis were bundled together on the calendar in 2012 and 2013 to keep travel costs down. Unfortunately, with Laguna Seca falling off the schedule after 2013 and an increased sanctioning fee from Dorna for next year, it didn’t make financial sense for IMS to keep hosting the race.
Boles told the Indianapolis Star that attendance of this year’s MotoGP race was the highest it’s been in four years—145,558 for all three days, with 67,648 on Sunday—but even then, the track could not guarantee a financial success for 2016.
Disappointingly, Boles said to the Indianapolis Star that he believes IMS’ fan base has proven to be “four-wheel rather than two-wheel.” That doesn’t give me a lot of hope that Indianapolis will return to MotoGP’s calendar after all.
The speedway is actively seeking other races to fill the schedule in place of MotoGP, with a sportscar series among the most likely to take its place.
“It’s no secret we continue to be interested in a proper endurance race, and there are options,” Boles explained to the Indianpolis Star. “But we have to figure out exactly what those options are, so that’s probably a 2017 project.”
Per IMS’ press release, fans who already purchased tickets for the now-cancelled MotoGP race at Indianapolis should call the speedway’s ticket office for a full reimbursement at (317) 492-6700.
Photo credit: Getty Images
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