MotoGP extends Austrian business ties

Dorna Sports, promoter of MotoGP, has furthered the motorcycling championship’s Austrian connections with the Red Bull Ring extending its race deal and KTM recommitting as a manufacturer partner.

The announcements were made as the 2019 Austrian Grand Prix was held at the Styrian venue, owned by energy drinks giant Red Bull, over the weekend. Previously confirmed until 2020, the five-year contract extension secures the future of the Red Bull Ring on the MotoGP calendar from 2021 to 2025.

In 2016, MotoGP returned to Austria and the Red Bull Ring for the first time since 1997 and the event was voted the best grand prix of the year. Dietrich Mateschitz, chief executive of Red Bull, said: “For me, MotoGP is the most attractive racing series in the world. It offers motorsport in its purest form.

“Securing the experience for the fans on site at the racetrack, as well as for the viewers of (Red Bull-owned) ServusTV, the contract extension is our long-term commitment to this fascinating sport and an expression of personal appreciation for Carmelo Ezpeleta.”

Ezpeleta, chief executive of Dorna Sports, added: “Being KTM’s home track, it’s also an important weekend for our newest manufacturer and for Austrian motorsport. The facilities and organisation are excellent, the grandstands are packed and the atmosphere is really unique here in Spielberg – I look forward to many more years working together.”

Meanwhile, KTM has realigned its MotoGP strategy as part of a five-year contract extension with Dorna Sports. The Austrian manufacturer joined MotoGP full-time on an initial five-year deal in 2017, and has now extended this agreement for a further five years.

KTM currently backs four entries in MotoGP, two with its works team and two with satellite outfit Tech3. Starting from 2020, the new agreement will see it realign its support of the support categories by placing principle emphasis on MotoGP and Moto3, withdrawing from the intermediate Moto2 class.

Stefan Pierer, chief executive of KTM, said: “This is part of a wider strategic view and we now have seven years to rise towards the top of the MotoGP class; the same period of time we needed to conquer the Dakar Rally.”