Thailand eyeing MotoGP race for 2015

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Thailand could be the first country to cash in on MotoGP’s booming popularity in South East Asia by joining the world championship schedule in 2015.

Interest in South East Asia has soared in the last few years but the only race on the calendar in that region is the Sepang clash in Malaysia.

Representatives of a new track called the Buriram International circuit (BRIC) around 250 miles north of Bangkok flew to Mugello recently for further talks with Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta.

He was updated on progress of the new track, which has been designed by world renowned circuit designer Hermann Tilke, who created the Circuit of the Americas, Sepang and Istanbul Park.

Development of the track is on schedule and Ezpeleta told MCN that a slot for a Thailand race could be made available on the 2015 calendar.

“In Mugello we were talking with representatives from a project in Thailand. They said they will be finished very soon and maybe 2015 will be an option, “said the Spaniard.

The key market in South East Asia is Indonesia, but a revamp of the Sentul track or a new circuit project has not progressed passed the talking phase.

“There is a lot of talk about different places in Indonesia but nothing is fixed,”said Ezpeleta.

In a recent interview with MCN, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis once again expressed a desire to make MotoGP a more global sport.

With four races in Spain, three in America and two in Italy, 50% of this year’s schedule is taking place in just three countries.

Jarvis has frequently spoken of the need to have MotoGP racing in expanding and rapidly growing markets that have become crucial for bike sales.

Talks between India and Dorna continually stalled, though Argentina will join the schedule in 2014 and most likely Brazil in 2015 for the vital South American market.

Jarvis said: “We really need to make MotoGP a truly global sport. We need to fix the inbalance we have at the moment. We don’t want to come to Spain four times. We do want to be more in Asia and in South America.

“Having a good global championship with a reasonable number of races containing reasonable costs, but expanding as much as possible our media appeal to get out to our fans is crucial.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt