SPORTS Authority of Thailand (SAT) Governor Sakon Wannapong officially signed a three year deal with Dorna Sports SL to host the Moto GP from 2018-2020 with the inaugural event to be staged at the Buriram International Circuit in October next year.
Sakon, on behalf of the Thai government, inked the contract worth BT300 million (Bt100 million a year) with Carmelo Expeleta, the CEO of Dorna Sport, witnessed by Deputy Prime Minister Thanasak Patimaprakorn, who oversees tourism and sports at the Sports Authority of Thailand.
Thanasak said Thailand would also host a pre-season Winter Test from February 16-18, at the venue.
The test event will allow MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 racers to examine their engines and study the new competition rules before the first series starts in March.
The Thailand race, to be staged October 6-7 , is one of the 19 circuits in the 2018 calendar and is one of the later stage of the tour which can determine the season’s overall champion.
An estimated 200,000 spectators are expected to show up in each MotoGP event, which should yield up to Bt1.5 billion income for the country.
Currently 87 racers are taking part in the World Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing – 24 in MotoGP, 32 in MotoGP 2 and 31 in MotoGP 3, followed by more than 800 million fans from 207 countries. Thailand’s only rider is Nakarin Atiratphuvapat, who competes in MotoGP 3 and is currently 2nd in the standings.
Asked if racers would be OK to compete in Buriram, which has a small airport and is more than a five-hour drive to Bangkok,
Carmelo Expeleta said: “The airport in Buriram will be modified to accommodate private jets and participants can also use airports in nearby provinces.
“Racers should be happy with this MotoGP as Thailand is also a great country for tourists.”