Donington Park is no stranger to MotoGP. The Leicestershire venue hosted MotoGP from 1987 to 2009 – 23 years straight – before the series moved to Silverstone.
And Donington will host the series once again in 2015 before the British Grand Prix moves in 2016 to the Circuit of Whales, which will be home to UK MotoGP through 2024. The Circuit of Wales circuit also has the option to extend the contract a further five years.
The decision was made Monday between Dorna – the rights holder of MotoGP – and the Circuit of Wales and Donington venues.
Due to this news, Silverstone’s final meet as the venue for the British Grand Prix was likely this past weekend’s round of 2014 MotoGP.
“After announcing the long-term MotoGP agreement between Dorna and the Circuit of Wales three weeks ago our priority has been to agree the venue for 2015,” explained Chris Herring of the Circuit of Wales. Herring added: “It is in the interests of everyone, especially the fans, to make a decision as soon as possible and in Donington Park we have a venue that shares our vision for growing MotoGP in the UK.”
Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta commented: “The Circuit of Wales has worked very quickly to secure the best deal for the British race fans and we believe Donington Park will deliver a fantastic race in 2015. ”Ezpeleta continued, “Donington Park has a long history and has been the scene of some of the most exciting MotoGP races in recent years and we are sure that the extensive works undertaken since it reopened four years ago will guarantee a successful event.”
As for Silverstone, circuit officials are upset they couldn’t come to an agreement with the Circuit of Wales to host the 2015 British Grand Prix.
Richard Phillips, Managing Director of Silverstone Circuits Limited, said: “We have invested heavily in the circuit and facilities here at Silverstone, specifically to host MotoGP, and have developed the British Grand Prix into a highly successful event. We wanted to keep MotoGP™ at Silverstone, but cannot afford to subsidise it. We are extremely disappointed not to be hosting the event in 2015.
“Any future deal, with Dorna or The Circuit of Wales, had to make economic sense for all parties, including us. We know from experience what it takes to run a high quality British Grand Prix. We made what we considered to be the maximum sensible offer to retain the event at Silverstone, but it seems that The Circuit of Wales, who have no experience of running a Grand Prix, have concluded they can do better running it themselves, using Donington until their circuit is ready.
“Silverstone has taken the event to a whole new level over the last five years, so we hope this won’t turn out to be a backwards step for the British Grand Prix, teams and fans. The Circuit of Wales evidently believe they can make the finances work using Donington next year – we wish them the best of luck.”
The date for the 2015 British Grand Prix at the Circuit of Wales is expected to be announced later this month.