Phillip Island warned over 2012 date change

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Phillip Island, popular venue for the Australian MotoGP race, will be kicked off the calendar unless organisers agree to stage the race six months earlier than its normal October slot in 2012.

Dorna and top MotoGP stars like Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo wanted the race moved to be the opening round next season amid fears that cold and wet conditions at the traditional October date make it too dangerous.

A revised 2011 calendar was drafted in Estoril back in late October that would have seen Phillip Island take the place of Qatar on March 20, while the night race and the Jerez and Estoril dates would also have been reshuffled.

But the short notice saw Phillip Island organisers inform Dorna that the date could not be changed for 2011.

The Grand Prix Corporation also organise the Formula One race in Melbourne, which would take place just seven days later on March 27.

Dorna has accepted the 2011 date change is not feasible and the Australian round will go ahead as originally scheduled on October 16.

What is in no doubt is that if Phillip Island doesn’t agree a March slot for 2012, it won’t be granted FIM homologation.

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta told MCN: “It was clear that to move for next year was very complicated. 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.”

It is not clear whether the moving of the MotoGP race will have any bearing on the staging of the World Superbike round. It has a traditional February slot, meaning conditions are usually much better at the end of the Australian summer.

Next year’s WSB race takes place on February 27.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt