Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix Back for 2012 and Beyond

Henny Ray Abrams | September 4, 2011

The Red Bull Indianapolis GP will remain on the MotoGP World Championship calendar for the next three years, from 2012 through 2014, after an agreement was reached between officials of Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder for MotoGP. The announcement was made from the San Marino Grand Prix, where IMS President and CEO Jeff Belskus was in attendance. The fifth annual Red Bull Indianapolis GP is scheduled for Aug. 17-19, 2012, a week earlier than this year.There was some speculation that the race wouldn’t continue after this year’s running. The repaved infield was heavily criticized by MotoGP riders with World Champion Jorge Lorenzo calling for a complete re-pave. But the race was mostly incident-free and run in record time.The problem wasn’t with the paving, but with a treatment applied to the track to hasten the curing process. That coating will be washed away by next year’s race, though there may be new issues. Grand-Am sports cars are scheduled to run with the Brickyard 400 on the infield road course. The cars will run in the opposite direction, which means they may create rippling on corner entry, which is the corner exit for the bikes, which run counter-clockwise.This year’s crowd was slightly larger than in 2010, which reversed a trend of declining attendance from the first three years. From a peak of 93,000 in the inaugural 2008 race, the crowd had declined to 63,000 in 2010. This year it was just over 64,000. But neither party expressed the sort of sentiment that suggested the race would continue. Contract extensions are normally announced either on the race weekend or just after. When nothing was announced on Sunday night at the RBIGP, the whispers began.But today’s announcement puts those whispers to rest and guarantees at least two MotoGP races in the U.S. for next year and three, possibly, for 2013 when the Circuit of the Americas is scheduled to host a grand prix in Austin, Texas.

“It’s great news to hear that Indianapolis is going to stay on the calendar for another three years,” Yamaha’s Ben Spies said in a prepared statement. “As every rider knows, there’s nothing more special than coming to a home race and putting it all on the line in front of your fans.”I’ve had pretty exciting races there so far in GP, and there’s so much history at the Brickyard, it’s a pleasure to be a part of it. I hope it continues to be a platform to bring MotoGP to a bigger American audience.”The full complement of grand prix classes – the new 1000cc MotoGP, Moto2, and the new 250cc four-stroke Moto3 – will be included, though no announcement was made on whether the Vance & Hines XR1200 class would return for a second year.

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.