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SBD Global/February 4, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Dorna Sports Says Plenty Of Markets Interested In Hosting MotoGP Motorcycle Races

Spanish rider Marc Márquez will try to defend his world championship title in '14.
MotoGP, the pinnacle of int’l motorcycle racing, is expanding its global reach into new markets. The series will return to Argentina this season after more than a decade. In addition, countries like Thailand and Russia have signaled interest in hosting a MotoGP event. "We have plenty of markets and plenty of new countries that are willing to host MotoGP. It’s a global competition," said Ignacio Sagnier, communications manager for Dorna Sports, which is the commercial rights holder of MotoGP. Representatives and promoters from both countries have already held talks with MotoGP execs. In the case of Russia, which will host its first F1 race this fall, Sagnier told SBD Global, "The interest is there. They said, 'Okay, we would like to host a grand prix.' But I think it will be another two, maybe three years. They will have to build the circuit." The series also received interest from Wales, with work on the proposed new Circuit of Wales racetrack set to start this year. While several countries seem to be seizing the opportunity to become part of the booming sport, the race in Laguna Seca, Calif. was dropped from the calendar. Sagnier: "For us it was great to go to Laguna because we had only one category, but for Laguna Seca it was difficult to sustain the MotoGP race. So we had to move, and we moved to Argentina." However, MotoGP still has two U.S. races on its '14 schedule. The Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas will host its second MotoGP race on April 13, and the Indianapolis Motor Speedway will welcome the riders on Aug. 10. MotoGP is also eyeing a return to Brazil. While this season’s provisional calendar included a Brazilian Grand Prix in late September, it is expected that the race will be delayed for at least another year.

BROADCAST BOOM: Last season’s championship fight between Spanish riders Marc Márquez and Jorge Lorenzo helped MotoGP draw its largest TV audience in history in Spain, a country with a long motorcycle-racing tradition. The upcoming season will again be broadcast in more than 200 countries. In two of MotoGP's most important TV markets, new broadcasters are set to make their debut this season. BT Sport will replace BBC in the U.K., and Sky Italia will take over Mediaset's spot as the home of MotoGP in Italy. "BT will present its broadcast team in London in mid-February. It's going to be a new era for us," Sagnier said. The '14 season will start with the Qatar Grand Prix on March 23. In addition to the top category, MotoGP, riders will also compete in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes. "So we have plenty of riders, characters and things going on in the new season. We think that the 2014 season is going to be amazing," Sagnier said.
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