AGPC confident of Phillip Island’s future

Honda's Dani Pedrosa heads out for practice at the 2010 AGP

Honda's Dani Pedrosa heads out for practice at the 2010 AGP

The Australian Grand Prix Corporation is confident that Phillip Island’s round of the MotoGP World Championship is not in danger, despite a disagreement with category promoters Dorna over the timing of the event.

Wild weather at the Australian Grand Prix in recent years led to Dorna shifting Phillip Island from October to March on a provisional 2011 calendar drafted last October.

While the AGPC successfully argued against the change on the grounds of late notice, Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta told early last month that the FIM will not homologate Phillip Island in 2012 unless the move goes ahead.

“It was clear that to move for next year was very complicated,” said Ezpeleta.

“We have spoken to them and for next year the calendar will be as the provisional one already printed.

“We understand because of the short notice but for 2012 it will be at the beginning of the season.

“It must be at the beginning of the year because I think it is too risky later in the season.

“For 2012 it will be compulsory and the FIM will not homologate the circuit unless the race is at the beginning of the year. There can be no excuses in 2012.”

With Phillip Island’s round of the World Superbike Championship and Albert Park’s Australian Formula One Grand Prix traditionally held in February and March respectively, a March MotoGP date is clearly undesirable from an AGPC perspective.

Last May, Dorna, the AGPC and the Victorian Government announced a deal to secure the Phillip Island race until 2016 (CLICK HERE for previous story).

AGPC boss Andrew Westacott has pointed to both the contract with Dorna and the race’s recent record as reasons why the event will remain in October.

“There’s a contract that Dorna have got that exists with us that says the race will be in September-October until 2016,” said Westacott.

“Carmelo has been suggesting this on and off, but we’ve never had a delayed race, never had a cancelled race.

“The vagaries of the weather exist all around the place at various times of the year.

“It’s not as easy as saying we’ll just slot it in in March. Marshals and emergency services would also be doing potentially World Superbikes (in February), MotoGP testing at Phillip Island and the Formula One event.”

The 2011 IVECO Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix will take place on October 16.

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