American legend Kevin Schwantz has filed a lawsuit against the Circuit of the Americas in a dispute over promotion rights for the inaugural MotoGP race at the Texan venue, due to take place in 2013.
The 1993 world 500cc champion has alleged that the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) is driving him out of a deal to stage the race at a new circuit in Austin, Texas.
The Lucky Strike Suzuki icon had planned to promote the race through his 3fourTexasMGP company and believed he had a 10-year deal in place with COTA and MotoGP rights owners Dorna.
In a statement issued by Schwantz under the title President of 3fourTexasMGP, LLC, Schwantz said: “I have devoted over 25 years of my life to MotoGP, the premier motorcycle road racing world championship. I spent four of those years bringing MotoGP to Texas, my home state.
"As a result, MotoGP agreed in 2011 to host an annual race at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas (COTA) track. I’m sorry to say that COTA is now attempting to unlawfully force me out of this project. I believe COTA has committed fraud in doing so. Earlier today, I took legal action against COTA.
"I was forced to file this lawsuit in order to protect my rights, my reputation, and MotoGP itself. I want to see MotoGP come to Texas, but I cannot allow COTA to take advantage of me. More important, I will not sit idly by while a newcomer to racing discredits the sport I love.”
COTA though has denied Schwantz has the right to organize the Texas MotoGP race, which is scheduled to be on the 2013 calendar with an April date.
A statement from COTA in response to Schwantz commencing legal proceedings read: “It makes no sense for Mr. Schwantz to pursue legal action in this matter. We were informed by Dorna, the organisation that holds the rights for the MotoGP racing series, that Mr. Schwantz has no contract to promote a MotoGP race in Texas.
"To be clear, Mr. Schwantz never had an agreement to conduct a MotoGP race at Circuit of The Americas, and to our knowledge, he has no agreement to conduct an event at any Texas racetrack.
"Perhaps, that is why he is reacting this way, out of embarrassment, and is making false claims to the court and media.
"We know race fans would love to see a MotoGP event at the Circuit, and it is good to know that the door is open to make that happen at our new world-class venue in Austin.”