The provisional calendar for the 2016 FIM Motocross World Championship is set to be released in the first week of July and could feature up to seven flyaway events and is likely to include a first ever Malaysian Grand Prix with the renowned Sepang circuit poised to host the second round after Qatar.
Earlier this year championship promoters Youthstream made a site visit to the permanent facility located close to Kuala Lumpur airport and accessible by train from the capital that also entertains F1 and MotoGP meetings. An inaugural MXGP would involve construction of a purpose-built layout.
“We are very close with the negotiations and it is heading in a positive way,” commented Youthstream President Giuseppe Luongo exclusively. “The organiser there is very powerful and the venue is fantastic. The track will be completely new and we’ll have a lot of space.”
“We think they will put all the necessary effort because the circuit is fantastic and around there are four or five hotels at every level. There is a fast train direct to the centre of Kuala Lumpur. I think there will be very high standards,” he added.
It was rumoured that Sepang could substitute the Thai Grand Prix, run for two years in Pattaya and then at Nakhonchaisri this spring but the short track west of Bangkok had a mixed reception despite a larger attendance through the gate. “I think it will replace Thailand because we don’t have the guarantee to reach a higher level [for the event] and we have struggled a lot there,” the 55 year old Italian said.
The provisional calendar is traditionally ‘provisional’ when it comes to the concrete fixing of countries and circuits. It is liable to change, even if the dates themselves remain relatively stable by the time of the more reliable version of the schedule issued during the FIM congress around October/November.
MXGP is likely to launch at Losail, Qatar once more with two years still remaining on the contract with Youthstream. The QMMF recently confirmed a decade agreement with Dorna to keep MotoGP until the lights and MXGP could head for an extension also. “They are very happy and I think we will continue,” said Luongo when asked.
Recent gossip over the stability of the 2015 Mexican Grand Prix was squashed by the Youthstream President: “Not at all, in Mexico everything is okay.”
While the 2016 line-up could see Brazil omitted again in Olympic year, Argentina and Neuquen prepared for another Grand Prix and possibly two dates in the United States, one being at Glen Helen and the other at another site and another zone of America.
“I think there will be one more [non-European event] and we will be up to seven,” Luongo said. “We have Malaysia but we will also replace Brazil with either another opportunity in South America or there is another option in North America for one more and this could be the difference. We are evaluating now about west and east coasts.”