The European start of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship will be held at the traditional venue in Jerez de la Frontera, Spain after Dorna reached a one-year agreement with the local government to hold the race at the cash-strapped venue.
The agreement guarantees the second round of the championship will be held on April 29, three weeks after the season-opener under the lights in Qatar. Dorna is also working towards an agreement that would keep Jerez on the calendar through 2016.
Financial concerns have cast doubt over the track’s ability to host the race for some time. Following a series of extensive renovations, the track is carrying a debt estimated at 45 million euros, about $58.3 million, and also owes Dorna six million euros. Longtime promoters Two Wheel Promotions are no longer affiliated with the track. Instead Dorna negotiated with the local government, the Junta de Andalucía, through the Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Sport, according to reports in the Spanish media.
“We are delighted to confirm that the 2012 Grand Prix of Spain will be held at the Circuito de Jerez, a very special locale for the MotoGP World Championship,” Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said in a statement. “I’d like to thank the Junta de Andalucía and Jerez de la Frontera City Council for their support in working toward securing this iconic event. We’ll now look ahead to the future of the event and focus on working together to reach an agreement up until 2016.”
The Andalucian track joined the calendar in 1987 and has hosted the World Championships every year since, though not always as the Spanish Grand Prix. The 1988 race was run as the Portuguese Grand Prix. Jerez, one of four Spanish races on the MotoGP calendar, has hosted the Spanish GP continuously since 1989.