Silverstone will remain the long-term home of MotoGP in the UK after sealing a new three-year contract with the motorcycling championship.
The deal puts an end to a controversial agreement Dorna Sports, MotoGP’s commercial rights-holder, agreed with the Circuit of Wales in 2014. Silverstone has been effectively acting as a stand-in host for the British Grand Prix since Dorna’s decision to move the event to the new circuit, which has since endured numerous development difficulties.
The Northamptonshire track’s place on the MotoGP calendar, and the future of the British round as a whole, had been placed in doubt when a draft schedule declared the event as ‘TBA’. However, Dorna and Silverstone have now signed a fresh deal, with the contract securing the future of MotoGP racing in the UK following the termination of the Circuit of Wales agreement.
The 2018 British GP will take place over the weekend of August 24-26. Stuart Pringle, managing director of Silverstone, said: “A lot of time and money has been invested in recent years to ensure MotoGP fans, teams and riders enjoy what Silverstone has to offer and we are delighted to have secured the contract to 2020.
“Two wheel racing is as much a part of Silverstone’s heritage as four wheel racing and we are looking forward to welcoming the Championship and its fans back to Silverstone next August.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna Sports chief executive, added: “Silverstone is an iconic British circuit, so naturally we are pleased to be able to continue racing at this iconic circuit.
“The United Kingdom is an important market for Dorna and has to remain on the MotoGP calendar, especially with the introduction of the British Talent Cup next year, which we hope will inspire the next generation of young British talent.”
The troubled Circuit of Wales development appeared to suffer a critical blow after the Welsh government in June rejected a request for more than £200m (€226.2m/$262.1m) in taxpayer-funded guarantees.
In 2014, Circuit of Wales agreed a five-year deal to replace Silverstone as the venue of the British Grand Prix, but the development has been beset by a number of funding issues. In April 2016, the Welsh government confirmed that it would not underwrite the scheme and also rejected a model in which it would guarantee 80 per cent of the funding model.
Circuit of Wales’ deal with Dorna Sports was due to run from 2015 to 2019, with the option of an extension taking the agreement through to 2024.