MotoGP drops Indianapolis as Austria returns to calendar

The MotoGP motorcycling championship has unveiled its provisional calendar for the 2016 season, confirming that its Indianapolis round in the United States will be dropped from the schedule in order to make way for the revived Austrian Grand Prix.

MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports in November revealed it had struck a deal with the operators of the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria, for the championship to return to the country. Austria staged MotoGP races on a regular basis between 1971 and 1997 prior to being dropped from the schedule.

Although Dorna at the time did not state exactly when the championship would return to the country, it has now been confirmed that the Austrian Grand Prix will take place in the 2016 season. The event will be held on August 14.

MotoGP and Dorna also said that as a result of Austria returning to the calendar, its event in Indianapolis will not feature on the 2016 schedule. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has staged MotoGP races on an annual basis since 2008. The US hosted three MotoGP rounds in 2013, when Austin joined existing venues Indianapolis and Laguna Seca. However, the Texan city’s Circuit of the Americas will be the only US event on the 2016 calendar with a race on April 10.

In a statement, Indianapolis Motor Speedway president J Douglas Boles said the decision “reflects the best interests” of both parties and that the “timing is right” for the venue to pursue other opportunities.

However, despite confirmation of Indianapolis being dropped from MotoGP, Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive of Dorna Sports, said that the “door is not closed” for the track to make a return to the championship in the future.

“Bringing MotoGP to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a tremendously rewarding experience,” Ezpeleta said. “While both sides recognise it’s the right time to pause this relationship, the door is not closed on future collaborations together should current circumstances change.”

The 2016 MotoGP season will begin on March 20 with the Qatar Grand Prix in Losail. Races have been scheduled in Jerez, Spain, and Brno, Czech Republic, on April 24 and August 21 respectively, but remain subject to contract. The season will conclude with the Valencia Grand Prix in Spain on November 6.