Silverstone to host MotoGP in 2010

Donington Park “disappointed” in decision

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jan. 13, 2009
The British portion of the MotoGP championship will move to the Silverstone Circuit, England in 2010.

The race track in Northamptonshire and Buckinghamshire, England signed a five-year agreement with MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports to host the British Grand Prix.

“Silverstone is the U.K.’s premier motor racing venue and we are thoroughly looking forward to hosting the world’s premier motorcycle racing event from 2010,” says Richard Phillips, managing director of Silverstone Circuits Limited. “We have worked closely with Dorna Sports to bring MotoGP to Silverstone and both parties are extremely excited about the opportunity to take this world-class event to another level.”

Silverstone previously hosted Grand Prix motorcycle racing from 1977-1986. In 1987, the event moved to Donington Park which has hosted the race for the last 22 years. The 2009 edition of the race will be held July 26.

“We are delighted that the MotoGP World Championship is returning to Silverstone as of 2010. The venue has excellent facilities and a circuit with a great heritage, having hosted some superb Grand Prix racing in the 1970s and 1980s,” says Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive officer of Dorna Sports. “We are sure that MotoGP’s visits to the U.K. will continue to be highly successful when we make the historic move back to Silverstone next year.”

Ben Spies made his MotoGP debut at the 2008 British Grand Prix at Donington Park.Donington Park CEO Simon Gillett responded saying he was “disappointed” by the news. The Leicestershire, England circuit released a statement speculating Silverstone offered double the rights fee paid by Donington Park. Gillett says Silverstone was intent on hosting a major racing event after losing the rights to the Formula One British Grand Prix to Donington Park.

“Given the need for a flagship event in 2010 to replace Formula One, we understand the importance to Silverstone of gaining the rights to MotoGP from a business perspective,” says Gillett. “However, since 1987 we have continually invested in MotoGP, emotionally as well as financially.”

The statement also accuses Silverstone of distancing itself from motorcycle racing in favor of auto racing in 1987 when it won exclusive rights to F1 racing.