MotoGP signs MoU to race in Saudi Arabia

The MotoGP field at Misano

Dorna Sports and the Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) which would see MotoGP race in the Kingdom.

The signing occurred during the just-completed San Marino Grand Prix by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta and HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal, who is Chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the SMC.

Saudi Arabia would make for two Middle Eastern rounds on the calendar, joining Qatar, which has become the customary season-opener although has relinquished that slot for 2023 due to pit lane upgrades.

“As the leading global championship for two-wheel circuit racing, we are thrilled at this opportunity for MotoGP to expand its reach within the Middle East by adding an annual Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia,” said Ezpeleta.

“The region is a key market for motorsport and the demand in the Kingdom for events of this kind is growing with research showing that 80 percent of Saudi fans wanting to see more in their country.

“In the past few years, Saudi Arabia has shown its ability to stage major global motorsports events to the highest standards.

“The signing of the Memorandum of Understanding codifies our shared intention to explore this opportunity further.

“We are confident that we will find an exciting and welcoming new home in the Kingdom and we look forward to further collaboration with the Saudi Motorsport Company to deliver on this joint ambition together.”

Saudi Arabia began hosting Formula 1 last year, joining a slate of motorsport events which is also comprised of the Dakar Rally, Formula E, and Extreme E.

His Royal Highness remarked, “We are excited to confirm the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Dorna today which clearly outlines our shared goal of bringing MotoGP to Saudi Arabia.

“It makes perfect sense to add the world’s greatest motorcycle racing series to our growing list of world-class racing events.

“We look forward to working with Dorna to deliver on our shared commitment to bring the pinnacle of two-wheeled racing to Saudi Arabia and to continue to provide more opportunities and initiatives to enrich the lives of all our residents.”

According to Dorna’s announcement, “MotoGP in Saudi Arabia will be staged on a newly constructed, multi-purpose FIM and FIA homologated circuit.”

That could very well be the mooted new circuit in Qiddiya, near the capital of Riyadh, which Formula 1 is slated to move to in the future.

The MotoGP field begins a two-day test at Misano tonight (AEST), before moving onto Aragon for Round 15 of the season on September 16-18.

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