Provisional 2014 MotoGP Calendar Released: 19 Races, Brazil Questionable, Laguna Seca Out

The FIM have today released the provisional version of the MotoGP calendar for 2014. As expected, there are few surprises: with the addition of Argentina and Brazil, there will be nineteen races on the calendar, though Brazil is not expected to be ready to host a race next year, the event likely to be postponed until 2015. Laguna Seca is gone from the calendar, leaving just two US races on for 2014. And once again, there are four Spanish rounds on for next season, although Jerez is marked subject to contract.

The season opens with the night race in Qatar on March 23rd, though this decision is likely to face criticism from the riders. Moving the race two weeks earlier increases the risk of the evening dew which settles on the surface hitting earlier, while the bikes are still out on track. That was the case in previous years, when the race was held earlier, with some major crashes as a result. The dew settles quickly and is impossible to see under the lights, but renders the asphalt extremely slippery within a very short period.

Two more flyaways follow, to Austin and Argentina, before the series heads back to Spain for the first European race in Jerez. Jerez is still marked as subject to contract, the circuit in continuing financial straits, but it is expected that race will happen. The Argentina/Jerez pairing is the first of two Transatlantic back-to-back races, with Indianapolis and Brno also just a week a part, on the 10th and 17th of August. The three Pacific flyaways are the only three-race back-to-back, starting in Malaysia on 12th October, before heading to Motegi in Japan, and then to Phillip Island.

The schedule looks broadly similar to this year's calendar, with Mugello taking place in early June, Barcelona mid-July, and Silverstone on the last weekend of August, a move which proved very popular and successful this year. This year has seen attendance at races increase almost everywhere by between five and fifteen percent, part of which is down to better scheduling.

Everywhere, except the US, that is. Though total attendance for all three races combined is up, attendance at the two races from last year is down by around ten percent. That is one of the reason why Laguna Seca has been dropped from the calendar, as the Red Bull US GP at the Laguna Seca track has not been profitable for the past four years, according to a report in the Monterey County Herald. As a non-profit organization, SCRAMP, the organization which runs the track, has been unable to find the investment of the two other US tracks. The Circuit of the Americas receives $2 million in state tax credits, while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has received a $100 million grant for improvements to the facility, including a new layout for the road course inside the Speedway. The sanctioning fee Laguna Seca paid to hold the MotoGP race is believed to be lowest on the calendar, and was the main reason why Moto2 and Moto3 (and previously, the 250cc and 125cc classes) never joined MotoGP at Laguna Seca.

Though the race was popular with many in the paddock, mainly for the setting, there was criticism too. Prices for accommodation in Monterey were extortionate, and the event never resonated in the local area. Compared to the lively downtown happenings at Austin, or the huge and well-organized evening events in downtown Indianapolis, the events on Cannery Row were rather small scale.

Most of all, though, there were concerns over safety. Though Turn 1 was one of the most impressive corners on the calendar, the wall was still very close, despite the hill having been moved back after 2005. Other sections, such as Turn 4 and the climb up the hill towards the Corkscrew, faced similar criticism. If something went wrong, it could have been very nasty. One team manager told me that every time MotoGP raced at Laguna Seca, he crossed his fingers on Friday morning and didn't uncross them until he left on Sunday night, with all of the riders still in one piece. 

But to lose Laguna Seca is a shame, as it remains an iconic circuit which has produced some fantastic racing. The Corkscrew remains one of the most memorable corners in racing, and Turn 1 among those requiring the most bravery.

The provisional calendar appears below:

Date Grand Prix Circuit
23 March Qatar* Doha/Losail
13 April Americas Austin
27 April Argentina Termas de Rio Hondo
04 May Spain(STC) Jerez de la Frontera
18 May France Le Mans
1 June Italy Mugello
15 June Catalunya Barcelona- Catalunya
28 June Netherlands** TT Assen
13 July Germany Sachsenring
10 August Indianapolis GP Indianapolis
17 August Czech Republic Brno
31 August Great Britain Silverstone
14 September San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Marco Simoncelli Misano
21 September Aragon MotorLand
28 September Brazil(STH) Brasilia
12 October Malaysia Sepang
19 October Japan Motegi
26 October Australia Phillip Island
09 November Valencia Ricardo Tormo-Valencia
 
* Evening Race
** Saturday Race
STC (Subject to the Contract)
STH (Subject to the Homologation)
The FIM have today released the provisional version of the MotoGP calendar for 2014. As expected, there are few surprises: with the addition of Argentina and Brazil, there will be nineteen races on the calendar, though Brazil is not expected to be ready to host a race next year, the event likely to be postponed until 2015. Laguna Seca is gone from the calendar, leaving just two US races on for 2014. And once again, there are four Spanish rounds on for next season, although Jerez is marked subject to contract.The season opens with the night race in Qatar on March 23rd, though this decision is likely to face criticism from the riders. Moving the race two weeks earlier increases the risk of the evening dew which settles on the surface hitting earlier, while the bikes are still out on track. That was the case in previous years, when the race was held earlier, with some major crashes as a result. The dew settles quickly and is impossible to see under the lights, but renders the asphalt extremely slippery within a very short period.

Comments

Spain x4

Dang I cannot decide which leadership takes the cake on Idiocracy. Dorna or the US government.

Total votes: 45

Shame

I must say I'm disappointed that Laguna Seca is out and Indianapolis stayed in. I understand that Laguna doesn't put up much money and that's what it's all about but Indianapolis is just plain boring.

Oh well ... it's not like they're asking my opinion either way :)

Total votes: 50

So why include Brazil on the

So why include Brazil on the schedule if it's not going to be ready this year? Just for the appearance of 2 races in South America? Why bother making the Qatar race earlier then having 3 weeks off before Texas? Just for the appearance of racing starting earlier? Never mind the added safety concerns of moving it earlier? Losing Laguna was obviously just a money grab - Carmelo has been playing Indy vs. Laguna all year long.

Total votes: 41

Laguna Seca Out

Being a native Californian and just up her in the San Francisco Bay Area I am disappointed but not surprised. The prices of the hotels were so bad it cost me less to drive back home from Friday to Sunday instead of stay out there. That is in a truck made in the mid nineties that only gets 13 mpg at most or on my bike. Heinously high extortion of rates on hotel prices. Indianapolis and Austin offer better deals and accommodation to riders and fans from what I hear. Where Monterey just tries to get over.

Hope they can at least keep WSBK.

Total votes: 42

It would have been nice to

It would have been nice to say goodbye to the Monterey Peninsula and let everyone know this year that it would be the last year.

The area's hotels are to blame more than anything else. Had they been fair over the years, concerning lodging, perhaps more would attend and SCRAMP wouldn't have had such hurdles to host it. It was the rider's favorite round. Shame. Indy is a joke for a MotoGP circuit and should be dropped also. Americans, sadly, just aren't as into this sport as much as other countries. Let's have one round and get a large attendance for it so it will stay for many years. COTA is a world class track and facility. One of the most demanding road circuits ever made.

Total votes: 35

MotoGP, Dorna and the USA

Sadly, Grand Prix racing now is just about money and Dorna will go wherever it is most profitable. And unfortunatley, Monterey is not it, for a number of reasons.

Yes, the hotels are ridiculously expensive. And yes, so are the ticket and package prices. But it was a true event, where riders rode to be part of the biking community, where vendors and manufacturers could showcase their wares.

Have you ever been to Texas? Indiana? There is nothing there that will make the hop on a plane, arrange for a hotel and rental car, just to see fast 4-stroke bikes. I would rather ride to Laguna for WSBK than travel to the midwest for MotoGP.

What America needs is its own Grand Prix series.

Total votes: 48

Location Location Location

I don't think the price of lodging had anything to do with the decision drop LS. It's the money Dorna was receiving ( or not receiving ) that was the root cause. I never stayed in Monterey. I stayed at San Juan Batista. Way less expensive. And even if you did pay the price to stay in Monterey, it was only once a year. This is a real shame. LS is an iconic race track, known the world over. You mention the word corkscrew anywhere and people know immediatly where you are talking about. Indy is a make believe race track inside a famous oval. No character whatsoever. The new track in Texas is beautiful but the surrounding area is, well, Texas. The Monterey Peninsula is one of the most beautiful places on the planet. This is a real shame. I pray for Ben Spies to move back to SBK. I'll be there in a heartbeat if he does. Four races in Spain? Didn't one of those tracks sell tickets for $10 last year or the year before because of the poor economy? Carmelo needs to go.

Total votes: 41

I cast doubt over the GP in Argentina

Given the present government. I doubt if the money will be there to support it next year. Nor given the unresolved issues that the Argentinian government has with Repsol, if Repsol will want to go to Argentina

Total votes: 36

It's really too bad about

It's really too bad about Laguna Seca. I was at the WSBK races last weekend and I really love that track, it's great for watching the races, as you can often find a spot that you can see multiple corners at the same time. I did not enjoy the Austin Race this year nearly as much as I have watching them at Laguna Seca. Plus visiting California is always nicer than going to Texas.

Sometimes you wonder at the logic of Dorna...

Total votes: 33

Hotel cost

The price of lodging does factor into the success or lack of at Laguna. I had been a regular at Laguna since the early 90s. While I used to live in the Bay area. Once I moved away, jacked up hotel prices, even at 50s era Murder Inn hotels, became too much. It was the #1 reason I stopped attending. Fuel cost & lack of fast American riders didn't help.

Total votes: 30

Brazil very likely

I live very close to the racetrack in Brasilia, and I can tell you there is a huge probability that the race will happen in 2014. It is very simple, actually. 2014 is an elections year and it does not look like the group that are in power now will still be there in 2015, so the current mob will line their pockets with the corrupt way of running the racetrack's renovation but, should the race not go ahead, they would miss the chance of extorting money from the companies that might want to participate in it, and they're not going to want to miss that.

Total votes: 26

indy

Been to Indy every year I live 8 hours away so the drive isn't too bad,hotels reasonable.
the track itself leaves much too be desired but Indianapolis is a nice city and the people are super nice.So for the price and the proximity its a no brainer for me.

Total votes: 31

Adios Laguna MotoGP; It's been fun.

I've been going to Laguna Seca since Sterling Moss won the Monterey Grand Prix driving a pea green Lotus 19. The Chevy Chaparrals, McLarens and Lola's. Even KR smoking what would be named Rainey Curve at the foot of the Corkscrew with his yellow bumblebee Yamaha wobbling like it was going to come apart.

The best was MotoGP 2005, though. I took my whole family and members of my wife's family. We planned it as soon as the schedule was announced. We rented cottages just off Carmel Beach for $115 a night. I took several rooms. The crowd was the biggest since the Trans Am days. Traffic was a mess. We loved it! And of course, Nicky 69 was the fastest every single session and won going away with The Tornado runner-up. Then we got to see Nick ride Earl around on the back for his victory lap.

I have been to all but one of the Indy MotoGP events, including the hurricane. I've seen the Indy mile twice. I like the downtown show. It is a special time, but only one son in my family wanted to go and certainly no GF's or wives.

I'll try and make the next Austin round. Maybe I can make a case for Austin to the women. You know, music and all. But somehow, I don't expect any takers.

Shame on the local hotels and B&B's if they are the ones that killed off MotoGP. Somehow I don't think that is the story, though. I've never met anybody who didn't like to spend a few days in Carmel/Pebble/Monterey. They are crowded every weekend all season long since the early 1950's when Carmel By the Sea was discovered. There is a reason for that.

Maybe they'll be back some day, but if DORNA has decided Laguna is not good enough, I don't see World Superbike staying either. They have the same owners.

Total votes: 35

I'm still...

... baffled that a MotoGP race is run inside an oval, it just seems... wrong.

Bye bye Laguna Seca. Hopefully SBK keeps visiting.

Total votes: 31

Indy..

Isn't it getting an overdue and proper make-over ?
Opposite (correct) direction....3 bends changed a little and the whole infield being re-surfaced ?

Total votes: 34

Farewell my friend

As another native to the SF Bay Area, I will truly miss Laguna. I know it's not the ideal track for modern day GP bikes, but for those of us in the area it's really all we have to hold on to and maybe I'm a young old fashioned guy, but the history gets to me every year we go.

I'm glad that this year I was able to go with the wife and my youngest daughter, so now the whole household has been at least once. Had I known this would be the last journey for the foreseeable future I would have brought the older two girls for one last ride.

I would have eaten a few more "Le Dogs" too :_(

Total votes: 31

BTW..

I thought 125 and 250s didn't come because of paddock issues. I feel like I'm trying to be sold on this story. Love this site like no other but we can certainly spend a long time talking about a few other tracks that have issues. Does Qatar not have the lowest attendance figures every year? But sure, it's never about money.

Also, to say the event never resonated in the local area is pretty condescending. Cannery Row is just plain good times and I must honestly ask if you've ever been there on the evenings of race weekends? Bikes EVERYWHERE and you can strike an intelligent conversation on the sport with anyone while sharing in a beer or 6. How can that be anything but good?

Everywhere I look the spirit of Motorsport is deceased.

Total votes: 33

125s and 250s

The tale about the 125s and 250s not coming to Laguna Seca because of space in the paddock was the convenient cover story. The truth was, it was always about money. You are right that Qatar has the lowest attendance of the entire season (around 8,000, compared to 40,000 at Laguna, or 130,000 at Brno) but they still pay the highest fee to stage the race, about twice as much as any other circuit.

And you are right to point out the deficiencies at other tracks. With Laguna Seca off the calendar, the dubious honor of having the two or three most dangerous corners on the calendar now falls to Mugello. It will be interesting to see how much pressure Dorna is willing to put on Mugello to make the track safer.

As for Cannery Row, people who have been to both Indy and Laguna tell me that Motorcycles on Meridian is several times larger than Cannery Row. Cannery Row is great, but Indy has much more to do downtown.

Total votes: 31

Blaming high hotel rates is a

Blaming high hotel rates is a huge red herring. Lodging in Monterey is ALWAYS expensive - it's a high end yuppie tourist trap. The other 98% of us stay in Salinas, Gilroy, or even Santa Cruz, which are all within an hour's drive/ride.

As for the safety 'concern,' did you not see what happened to Pedrobot's bike last weekend? Every track has room for improvement. To single out T1 as some Big Scary Boogy Man is absurd. Can anyone even point to an incident that occurred there in any class of MC racing?

This whole article seems designed to distract people from the basic fact that Dorna jacked the sanctioning fee, effectively squeezing SCRAMP out of business. Given that the bikes will already be in the US for Indy, I've got to ask, how much does it really cost DORNA to hold the Laguna race?

Total votes: 33

Increasing the sanctioning fee

The sanctioning fee was increased because Laguna was getting the race for a pittance. It certainly wasn't covering the costs, and even after the price had been jacked up (to well below what every other circuit in the world pays for the privilege of organizing a MotoGP race), it was still below what was needed to make the race a viable round. Both Dorna and Laguna lost money on MotoGP, but they did it back when there was no alternative for a US round. Now, there are two viable alternatives to Laguna Seca, and both are well-funded enough to pay for Moto2 and Moto3 to come too.

The real problem is that SCRAMP is a non-profit organization. This makes it hard to raise capital to improve facilities, and chase profit to invest in the circuit. Add in a local environment which is hostile to the decibels of a MotoGP race, and Laguna Seca had too much working against it.

Total votes: 29

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