Estoril MotoGP gets go ahead for 2012

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Estoril will feature on the 2012 MotoGP world championship calendar after negotiations with rights owners Dorna were successfully concluded earlier this week.

The Portuguese Grand Prix, scheduled to take place on May 6, had been in serious doubt with no agreement in place to host the third round of the 2012 campaign.

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta had told the media during the first Sepang test in Malaysia earlier this month that he hoped a decision on the future of the Estoril round would be resolved by February 15.

And that proved to be the case with an announcement yesterday that the Estoril round will go ahead, though the deal was only for 2012.

The agreement for this season still casts a huge cloud of the long-term future of the event, with the Portuguese economy ravaged by the global financial crisis.

The Estoril race is seen as one of the most vulnerable with several new tracks looking to join the MotoGP calendar in the future.

Dorna already has agreements in place with Argentina and Texas for 2013 and with Ezpeleta reluctant to increase the schedule over the current 18-round format, Estoril and one of the four Spanish rounds staged at Jerez, Catalunya, Motorland Aragon or Valencia appear the greatest threat.

India is also close to securing a 2013 MotoGP deal while South Korea and Chile have also made formal approaches to Dorna about hosting a race in the future.

Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt