MotoGP considers joint races with F1, Supercross

MotoGP is reportedly exploring options to run a race on the same weekend, and at the same location, as F1. AMA Supercross is also a possibility.

Texas flag at Circuit of the Americas. - Gold and Goose

MotoGP is potentially looking at collaborations with two racing series, with crossovers with both F1 and AMA Supercross being explored. 

Last year, the owner of the Circuit of the Americas, the host of both the F1 US Grand Prix and MotoGP Grand Prix of the Americas, pondered whether it could host a race weekend which featured both F1 and MotoGP

This year, at the 2023 MotoGP season opener in Portimao, F1 boss Stefano Domenicali waved the chequered flag at the end of the Grand Prix. He also spoke with Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta about the possibility of running an F1 Grand Prix on the same weekend, at the same venue, as a MotoGP race.

This is according to reports from Soy Motor, and the prospect is pretty mouth-watering for enjoyers of two and four wheels. The chance to see MotoGP and F1 on the same racetrack and on the same weekend is something which has never happened before, and if you are a fan of both series then surely it would be an almost perfect scenario.

Additionally, from a promotional perspective, it could be fantastic for MotoGP, who would be able to put their exciting racing in front of a load of people who are fans of comparatively boring racing.

Soy Motor reports that the likely candidate for the location would be Madrid. However, running on a street circuit would make it difficult to reach the safety requirements of MotoGP. 

More recently, Speedweek published an interview with Ezpeleta in which he said that a street circuit would be “out of the question,” for MotoGP. 

Speedweek also wrote that the Circuit of the Americas is a potential candidate to host the race. It is one of five circuits - along with the Lusail International Circuit, Silverstone, Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and the Red Bull Ring - to host both MotoGP and Formula One this year, and also has an F1 race which is almost 10-times more popular than the MotoGP race. 

However, Lusail is probably more likely, since the cost of putting both series on one weekend would be quite high.

After the location is decided, it is not certain how the event would run. Moto2 and Moto3 would, at a guess, be absent, and there would no doubt be complaints from riders and drivers about Pirelli rubber not mixing well with Michelin rubber. Additionally, Ezpeleta has said that such an event would not happen before 2027, because MotoGP has existing contracts in-place with the circuits.

The alternative to running MotoGP on the same weekend, at the same location as F1 is to run MotoGP on the same weekend, at the same location as AMA Supercross, which is the most popular two-wheeled sport in the US and attracts tens-of-thousands of fans in stadiums across the country. 

The current issue is that MotoGP and Supercross are already racing on the same weekend in the US. This weekend, when MotoGP is in Texas, Supercross is in Atlanta, at the Atlanta Motor Speedway, for the only ‘speedway race’ of its season other than Daytona. 

This is in a way a problem for both championships and potentially one similar to that which World Supercross might encounter later this year when it opens its season at Villa Park in Birmingham, less than a one-hour drive away from Donington Park, where WorldSBK will be racing on the same weekend. Basically, the issue is that the audience is split between two races. 

Formula One had a similar problem in its early years in the US, and got backlash from NASCAR, as it raced in Austin one year the same weekend as NASCAR raced at the Texas Motor Speedway. 

Making an audience decide between two events is rarely beneficial for either of those events, both of whom, to some extent, will miss out on some people through the gate. 

The solution would seem simple, which is to race Supercross at COTA. That is suggested as a possibility by Speedweek, and also by On Track Off Road’s Adam Wheeler, who tweeted that discussions are set to happen between Supercross and MotoGP this weekend.

It is also worth pointing out that the SuperMotocross World Championship was at one point heavily rumoured to have one of its races at COTA this year. 

The SuperMotocross World Championship (SMX) is new for this year, and effectively works as a ‘play-off’ series for AMA Pro Motocross and AMA Supercross riders, but in the end it will not race at COTA this year.

Perhaps, if an AMA race happens on the same weekend as MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas, it will be a SuperMotocross race, which would be similar to Supercross in terms of the track, but would be more ‘MotoGP-style’ in terms of the rider roster, which would consist mostly of elite, factory riders, with only a few privateers. 

Since SMX happens after the end of the Pro Motocross season, it would mean a move from early- to late-season for the MotoGP race to accommodate SMX. This year, the SMX races are happening in September, with the final race on the same weekend as the MotoGP race in India. Most likely, if MotoGP and SMX were to race together in COTA, the race would have to be in late-September or early-October, which then makes a scheduling issue with the Motocross of Nations, which is now popular in the US again, because Team USA won last year.

The options, then, for a MotoGP ‘crossover’ race, would be an expensive mix with F1; a scheduling challenge with SMX; or a seemingly, comparatively simple tie-up with Supercross.

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