It’s no secret that Dorna, owner and operator of the Moto GP series, has been unhappy with having three Moto GP events in the U.S. – more than than in any other country except bike-mad Spain. While they certainly want to promote the American market if possible, there are many other countries that would better serve Dorna’s promotional and TV needs.
It looked like the Indianapolis race would be dropped, but an extension was signed just before this year’s event. With a contract in place for the new Austin, Tx Circuit of the Americas, the west coast round at Mazda International Raceway (Laguna Seca) was the obvious one to go.
Despite California being the centre of motorcycle activity in the U.S., the crowds at Laguna have been slowly dropping off since the first race, cutting income. A press release from the organizers – which is a non-profit body – indicated this as being the major problem: “The support provided by the states of Texas and Indiana make it difficult for us, as a not-for-profit, to currently compete.”
The release did go on to say, “Our pledge to you is to work diligently to return the MotoGP World Championship to Monterey, Calif., in the very near future.”
It’s puzzling that Dorna renewed the Indianapolis round in view of relatively small crowds and interest in road racing in the U.S. heartland, unless of course you accept the simple fact that Indy was able to cough up more money than Laguna had available.
According to the Monterey Herald, Raceway general manager Gill Campbell said the event has not been profitable for the past four years and with the licensing fee with Dorna going up by $800,000 next year, it was no longer financially viable. It takes about $9 million to put on the event, Campbell said, though she alluded that the event may return in the near future.