MotoGP looks certain to be returning to the Brno circuit for 2015, after the local region of South Moravia guaranteed financing for the race for next year. In addition, talks are continuing to extend financing for the race beyond the 2015 season.
The race in Brno had been in doubt for some time now. The circuit, owned by Karel Abraham Sr, father of Cardion AB rider, has struggled to pay the sanctioning fee demanded by Dorna, despite being the best-attended round of the series (over 142,000 turned up to watch the race in 2013 at the spacious, wooded Czech circuit). The circuit has previously received funding from the Czech government, but that has been withdrawn.
Now, the South Moravian region has stepped in to guarantee the 2.5 million euro sanctioning fee. The event reportedly generates around 35 million euros in revenue for businesses in the area, and is an important contributor to the local economy. Keeping the MotoGP round at the circuit is key for the regional authorities.
The deal agreed guarantees funding for the 2015 round, but talks will continue for future races. Both Dorna and the circuit intend to sign a long-term deal to keep the race at the track.
Below is the press release issued by Dorna explaining the situation:
Brno closing in on fresh MotoGP™ race deal
Race Report follows.
Notes: Mika Kallio crashed towards the end of the session, when he came together with Robin Mulhauser. Kallio was unhurt, and the bike did not suffer too much damage.
Press releases from the MotoGP teams and Bridgestone after qualifying at Brno:
Press releases from the Moto2 and Moto3 teams after qualifying at Brno:
The key to success in motorcycle racing is about controlling as many variables as you can. There are two variables which riders and teams cannot control, and which they fear for that very reason: the weather, and crashes. The weather spared both MotoGP and Moto2 at Brno on Saturday, but played havoc in Moto3. Crashes, too, made life difficult, both for MotoGP and in Moto3. It made for an intriguing day of practice.
The day started under leaden skies, with the threat of rain ever present throughout the morning. Dark clouds rolled in, then rolled right out again, chased deeper into Moravia and away from the track. They broke only briefly in the afternoon, the Moto3 qualifying session the main victim. Standing at trackside, the rain came and went so quickly that by the time I posted an update on Twitter, the weather had changed, immediately contradicting me. In the end, a red flag saved my blushes, Phillip Oettl crashing and damaging the air fence, causing the session to be halted while the air fence was repaired.
The rain had disappeared by the time MotoGP qualifying rolled around, conditions good enough for Marc Marquez to get close to Cal Crutchlow's pole record from 2013. That Marquez should take pole is hardly a surprise – that's nine out of eleven this year – but the way he controlled not just pole position, but the whole front row of the grid. Marquez jumped straight to pole on his first run out of the pits, but as he started his second run, he picked up a passenger. Andrea Iannone latched onto the tail of Marquez, and as Marquez flashed across the line to improve his time, Iannone used his tow to leapfrog ahead of his time, taking provisional pole from the Repsol Honda man. His soft tire spent, Iannone couldn't follow Marquez on his second run, the world champion going on to reclaim pole and demote Iannone to second. Further down the grid, Andrea Dovizioso followed Valentino Rossi around the circuit to improve his own time, moving up to second and demoting Iannone another spot.
Qualifying was dry, but cool, with 17º air temperature.
Qualifying was on a dry track.
The weather didn't play a part on the free practice session, allowing riders to determine their pace for the racing tomorrow and get a last half hour of setup before the qualifying.
Valentino Rossi set a 1'56.207 lap early on, a time that stood throughout the entire session. Dani Pedrosa and Marc Marquez were able to go quicker in the first two sectors, but the Hondas couldn't tie the last half of the track together in spite of the fact the Honda's power put it at a theoretical advantage up the power-sapping incline in sector three.
Rossi unfortunately crashed and spent most of the session in the medical centre, tucking the front on a high-speed corner entry. He injured the little finger on his left hand, but was cleared for qualifying, having not suffered a fracture. His bike was damaged severely, but Rossi has a second bike for qualifying.
Bautista also crashed at the same spot, seconds after Rossi, and stated that he thought there was something on the track, but neither rider suggested a red flag.
The Moto3 QP session was held under mutable weather and a red flag that fell at the worst time, with ten minutes left as the weather cleared. When the track reopened, the optimal conditions could had left.
Thomas Luthi took early control of the dry session on his Interwetten Paddock Suter bike, knocking half a second off Marc VDS's Mika Kallio and Tito Rabat's times from yesterday. He was joined at the top by reigning World Supersport Champion Sam Lowes on the Speed Up as the only other rider under 2'03 at the halfway mark.
With fifteen minutes left, Tito Rabat went quickest, bringing with it the hungry sharks sensing chummed water, trying to latch onto him for a fast lap. Rabat evaded them with a ride through the pit lane, exiting into clear track, but he was unable to to go any quicker as the chequered flag fell.
Sandro Cortese joined the top three under the 2'03 mark, with Mika Kallio just missing out in fifth.
Dani Pedrosa has topped the final session of practice for the MotoGP class at Brno. The Repsol Honda rider found a real burst of speed towards the end of the session, extending the gap over his teammate to over three tenths of a second by the end of the session. Marc Marquez was forced to settle for second, after taking an early lead.
The final minutes of the session turned hectic, as ever, with riders pushing hard for a fast lap to ensure a place in Q2. Bradley Smith posted an impressive time to take 3rd spot, under half a second off the time of Pedrosa, and just ahead of the Movistar Yamahas of Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi. Andrea Iannone secured his place in Q2 with the 6th fastest time, very close behind Rossi, and just a fration ahead of Pol Espargaro on the Tech 3 Yamah. Andrea Dovizioso led the factory Ducati pair, with Crutchlow posting the 9th fastest time ahead of Aleix Espargaro. Aleix Espargaro had been unable to improve his time from yesterday, but had already booked a place in Q2.
The Repsol Hondas had a clear advantage, but behind them, times were extremely close. A tenth of a second separated Bradley Smith in 3rd from Andrea Dovizioso in 8th, with Cal Crutchlow another tenth of a second behind that.