BRI­TISH GRAND PRIX IS UP FOR GRABS

Sil­ver­stone and Don­ing­ton could fight it out for the fu­ture of the Bri­tish Mo­togp

Motorcycle News (UK) - - SPORT - SIMON PAT­TER­SON MO­TOGP RE­PORTER simon.pat­ter­son@mo­tor­cy­cle­news.com @Mc­n­sport mo­tor­cy­cle­news

The Bri­tish Grand Prix could be set for a re­turn to Don­ing­ton Park, af­ter Mo­togp boss Carmelo Ezpeleta ex­clu­sively con­firmed to MCN at the Czech Grand Prix that their con­tract with the ill-fated Cir­cuit of Wales project is fi­nally dead in the water.

The news opens the way for both Sil­ver­stone and Don­ing­ton Park to bid for the race in the fu­ture, with MCN’S sources in­di­cat­ing that both are keen to take up the man­tle.

Ezpeleta con­firmed to MCN that the 10-year con­tract that they signed in 2014 to host the race is now null and void – news that has come as no real sur­prise af­ter last month’s re­fusal by the Welsh gov­ern­ment to pro­vide the fi­nan­cial back­ing that project boss Heads of the Val­ley De­vel­op­ment Com­pany needed to be­gin con­struc­tion.

And de­spite the in­sis­tences of Cir­cuit of Wales boss Martin Whit­taker to MCN only a month ago that this year’s race would con­tinue to be or­gan­ised by them un­der the track leas­ing deal they’ve used for a num­ber of years with Sil­ver­stone, that plan has now been scrapped, too. The pro­mo­tion and or­gan­i­sa­tion of this month’s Bri­tish Grand Prix will in­stead be car­ried out by Sil­ver­stone and Dorna them­selves.

CARMELO EZPELETA

Ezpeleta told MCN: “We are now work­ing di­rectly with Sil­ver­stone and they are pro­mot­ing the event, and ev­ery­thing is go­ing well. The con­tract with Cir­cuit of Wales is com­pletely fin­ished, be­cause they have harmed the mat­ter – but we solved the sit­u­a­tion by work­ing di­rectly with Sil­ver­stone, and for the fu­ture we will see.

“We pre­fer to solve this prob­lem first and then we will con­sider the fu­ture. Don­ing­ton is a pos­si­bil­ity too - we are happy with Sil­ver­stone but we will discuss the mat­ter also with Don­ing­ton.”

With the last-minute deal be­ing put to­gether be­tween them to save this year’s race, it does mean that the fu­ture of the race is up in the air. Bri­tish Su­per­bike bosses MSV are set to take over own­er­ship of Don­ing­ton Park, pend­ing an in­quiry by the Com­pe­ti­tion and Mar­kets Author­ity and they’d like noth­ing more than to take the race back to the Der­byshire cir­cuit.

How­ever, Don­ing­ton Park needs sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment works in or­der to bring the track up to Mo­togp stan­dards – both tech­ni­cal and spec­ta­tor fa­cil­i­ties are a long way be­hind F1-spec Sil­ver­stone. But if the MSV takeover goes through, that in­vest­ment could be on the way as part of MSV’S plans to de­velop the track.

In fact, a model for the up­grades al­ready ex­ists in Grand Prix rac­ing, with Assen awarded a ten, in­stead of five-year deal to run the Dutch TT.

The added se­cu­rity of a longer-term con­tract al­lowed them to se­cure fi­nanc­ing for a host of works in the com­ing years at the iconic Dutch track.

‘Happy with Sil­ver­stone, but we’ll also talk to Don­ing­ton’

Sil­ver­stone has proved a hit with some riders and fans, but an Msv-run Don­ing­ton could want its ball back

TRACK WARS!

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