The Argentine Grand Prix is off and the Qatar Grand Prix has been moved with the release of an updated 2013 MotoGP World Championship calendar by the FIM.
The return of MotoGP to South America has been in doubt ever since it was announced at a press conference during the June Dutch TT in Assen. The press conference, meant to herald the first grand prix in Argentina since 1999, quickly became contentious, with the Spanish media trying to pin down Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta on whether it was possible to hold a race in Argentina given Argentina’s seizure of the Argentina assets of Repsol YPF, Spain’s largest oil company. The government of Argentinean President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner took control of 51% of those assets in April. Two months later, on June 20, the Spanish government recommended that anyone connected with the Repsol brand not travel to Argentina for safety reasons.
At the October Australian Grand Prix, Ezpeleta said, “Still we are waiting. We have some communication…the Argentinean people are saying they think this will be improved in a few days, but at the moment we don’t see any real change.”
Today the FIM made it official. The deadline for Dorna to officially propose the 2013 MotoGP calendar to the FIM was Nov. 18. Two days later, on Nov. 20, a representative of the Spanish government sent an e-mail to Dorna telling them they’d reversed their position about Repsol team members traveling to Argentina. But Dorna informed them that they’d missed the deadline to be included in the calendar and, therefore, the Argentine GP was off.
Dorna added that it had committed itself to including the Argentine Grand Prix on the 2014 calendar and beyond, subject to homologation of the track which should take place in the first quarter of 2013.
The removal of the Argentine race, which had been expected to take place on April 14, allowed Dorna to start the season a week later. The 2013 MotoGP World Championship will now kick off in Qatar on April 7. Two weeks later the championship makes its first stop at the Circuit of the Americas for the Austin Grand Prix.