Is a Spa MotoGP round on the horizon?

A loan to the circuit owners might just help seal the deal, but there’s a catch…

Is a Spa MotoGP round on the horizon?

The Walloon government have agreed to loan Spa Francorchamps €29.5m for circuit renovations to bring it up to FIM Grade A status, making a MotoGP a possibility.

Spa is one of the most iconic circuits not currently on the MotoGP calendar. From the famous Eau Rouge, to the seemingly never-ending Pouhon, the track is a fan and rider favourite that’s seen as the biggest test racer and machine.

It’s been a couple of years since the rumours of a MotoGP return to the track gathered momentum, with MotoGP supremo, Camelo Ezpeleta claiming that the circuit owners had been in contact about a possible return. At the time though, Ezpeleta claimed the layout would make it “almost impossible” for it to host MotoGP as it is.

This week, the Walloon government (decides on matters for the French-speaking region of southern Belgium) has confirmed a loan for Spa has been approved in order for the circuit owners to make safety upgrades to the circuit. The only catch is that Dorna (the MotoGP rights holders) has to put a deal to host MotoGP on the table, before the funds will be released.

The Minister of Economy, Pierre-Yves Jeholet, released a statement saying, the loan is part of a five-year investment plan to bring the circuit up to scratch. It read: “I hereby confirm that the Walloon Government has approved the participation of SOGEPA (Public investment and management fund) in the five-year investment plan (2019-2023) of the company Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps of up to 29.5 million euros in the form of a loan.

“This loan will only occur if the arrival of motorcycle [racing] is realised and should be used to finance part of the work to be done to host motorcycle events (MotoGP and Endurance World Championship).

“[These would be] works that would not change the layout of the circuit and would, therefore, be compatible with the FIA requirements.”

That last statement is important as it makes it clear that the circuit layout is not in danger, it is more the run-off areas, barrier types and pit/paddock facilities that are going to need regeneration.

He went on to say. “Discussions are obviously underway with the various promoters to organise international motorcycle races on the circuit, with the aim of having, one the most beautiful circuits in the world, [hosting] Formula 1 but also a MotoGP.”

The earliest we could see the likes of Marquez hammering down Eau Rouge is likely to be 2024 although complications in the redevelopment of the site could push this back.

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