Is Indianapolis Going to Host a MotoGP Race in 2016?

An iffy presence in the 2014 and 2015 MotoGP calendar until Dorna and the Brickyard management settled for what looks like a year-by-year deal, Indianapolis is again in question for 2016.
Of course, each time, the reason for these problems remains the same, and it has always been the relatively small number of people who attend the Midwest racing event.

In terms of plain, bare figures, the 132,817-strong attendance at the MotoGP round in 2014 looks good, with no less than ten other rounds attracting smaller crowds last year. Still, this number seems to be too small for a huge venue like the Brickyard. And the sheer size of the entire complex dedicated to motorsports comes with elevated costs, so the profitability of hosting a GP round is reduced.

At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Qatar round that has only brought in 17,890 people in 2014. However, you don't need us to tell you that both Dorna and the management of the Losail Circuit are more than happy to strike a 10-year deal, because money flows there like in no other place.

Judging on a per-attendee basis, the Qatar round is probably the most profitable one, and as long as the Qatari money will be flowing, we will most likely have a MotoGP race at Doha. And it's hard to believe that the Losail circuit will ever draw 100,000+ crowds even ten years from now...

How much the organizers of the championship and the managers of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway are spending is a secret, but it looks like the last years haven't been exactly booming.

The Indy management updated the track course for 2014, but even so, this was nowhere near enough to draw bigger crowds. In fact, it was more of a request from the GP organizers in order to retain the round in the US.

The lack of US riders in MotoGP may be one of the causes for poor attendance

MotoGP's presence in the US dwindled with the Laguna Seca round being crossed off Dorna's list since 2014, and whether the States can support two GP events (and retain a specific profit margin) is still a mystery and the only ones who know how to solve this are the fellows over at Dorna.

Despite the fact that the Indianapolis venue has a huge importance in the history of motorsport, the Grand Prix racing events constantly failed to meet the hopes and expectations of both series and raceway owners. The question whether one of the two US rounds should be moved to another country is once more a first-page subject.

This weekend might be a very important one in the future of MotoGP in the US. If the 2015 race follows the trend (and it looks like it will), we might get to see Dorna calling it off and searching for better markets in 2016.

Some say that the relatively low interest the US public is showing for Grand Prix racing is because the series no longer has great American names in it. The glory days of Kenny Roberts, Wayne Rainey, Eddie Lawson, Kevin Schwantz, or Wayne Gardner are over.

The biggest number of American riders in the premier class lately was three (Nicky Hayden, Colin Edwards and Ben Spies), and it is now reduced to only one. Even so, the 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden fails to deliver spectacular results and is said to be eyeing a career in World Superbike.

While Asia, Europe, and particularly Spain encourage youngsters to get into pro or semi-pro racing from early ages, the US laws are much stricter, and this translates into a huge gap between the quality of the riders that make it into the world series.

We can anticipate that, if the US policies change and more American riders are present in all the three GP classes, attendance will boom. There are many Americans who like GP races, but the number of those who want to see American riders in these races is surely much bigger.

Until such changes are in effect, get ready for the second half of the season, with the first Free Practice sessions taking place at the Brickyard tomorrow.
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