MotoGP set for Saudi Arabian race after signing letter of intent

Agreement also creates initiative to develop regional talent.

Dorna Sports, series promotor of MotoGP, and Saudi Motorsport Company (SMC) have signed a letter of intent for the global motorcycling series to race in the kingdom.

It is unconfirmed as to which year the race will debut but it will expand the series' presence in the Middle East, adding to the already existing Qatar Grand Prix.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) will also see the founding of an initiative to develop racing talent in Saudi Arabia, increasing the awareness and accessibility of the sport in the region.

Plans to bring MotoGP to the country follow heightened efforts to secure motorsport events in Saudi Arabia, following the Formula One Saudi Arabia Grand Prix (since 2021), Formula E's Diriyah round (since 2018), the Dakar Rally (since 2020), and the Extreme E series (since 2021).

There are also reports that the World Rally Championship (WRC) is targeting a Saudi Arabian round in 2023, while the World Touring Car Cup (WTCR) has confirmed Saudi Arabia as the destination for its season finale this year.

“We are excited to confirm the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Dorna, which clearly outlines our shared goal of bringing MotoGP to Saudi Arabia,” said HRH Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al Abdullah Al-Faisal.

“It makes perfect sense to add the world’s greatest motorcycle racing series to our growing list of world-class racing events. We look forward to working with Dorna to deliver on our shared commitment to bring the pinnacle of two-wheeled racing to Saudi Arabia and to continue to provide more opportunities and initiatives to enrich the lives of all our residents.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive of Dorna Sports, addded: “As the leading global championship for two-wheel circuit racing, we are thrilled at this opportunity for MotoGP to expand its reach within the Middle East by adding an annual Grand Prix in Saudi Arabia.

“The region is a key market for motorsport and the demand in the Kingdom for events of this kind is growing with research showing that 80 per cent of Saudi fans wanting to see more in their country. In the past few years, Saudi Arabia has shown its ability to stage major global motorsports events to the highest standards.

“The signing of the [MoU] codifies our shared intention to explore this opportunity further. We are confident that we will find an exciting and welcoming new home in the kingdom and we look forward to further collaboration with the SMC to deliver on this joint ambition together.”

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