Dorna announced it has removed Argentina from the 2013 MotoGP calendar over fears for the safety of Repsol employees – including Repsol-sponsored racers – following the Argentine government’s expropriation of the oil company’s local subsidiary.
Back in April, the Argentine government passed law 660 and expropriated 51% share of YPF, a Repsol subsidiary. The move created tensions between Argentina and Spain, leading Spain to issue a travel warning for Repsol staff, advising them not to travel to the South American country.
Despite the continuing controversy, Argentina was penciled into the provisional 2013 MotoGP calendar released in September as the “to be confirmed” April 14 round in the hopes a resolution would be found.
Unfortunately, Dorna had until Nov. 18 to submit its final proposed 2013 MotoGP World Championship schedule to the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM), and with the travel advisory still in place, the MotoGP promoter decided to remove the April 14 round from the 2013 schedule.
Ironically, Spain informed Dorna it withdrew the travel advisory on Nov. 20, two days after the deadline for submission of the 2013 calendar. The timing of the news does raise a few questions.
Repsol is a major sponsor in MotoGP, supporting riders and teams in the Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP classes, and no doubt carries a lot of clout with Dorna. Regardless of Spain’s travel advisory, Repsol would probably not be very happy about staging a race in a country that seized control of its subsidiary without negotiating fair compensation.
Fortunately for Repsol, the FIM’s supposed Nov. 18 deadline and the now-removed travel advisory gave Dorna a convenient exit from staging its Argentine Grand Prix. Convenient, to say the least.
Revised 2013 MotoGP Calendar:
- April 7 Qatar – Doha/Losail
- April 21 United States – Austin
- May 5 Spain – Jerez*
- May 19 France – Le Mans
- June 2 Italy – Mugello
- June 16 Catalunya – Catalunya
- June 29 Netherlands – Assen
- July 7 Germany – Sachsenring
- July 21 United States – Laguna Seca
- August 18 Indianapolis – Indianapolis
- August 25 Czech Republic – Brno
- September 1 Great Britain – Silverstone
- September 15 San Marino – Misano
- September 29 Aragon – Aragon
- October 13 Malaysia – Sepang
- October 20 Australia – Phillip Island
- October 27 Japan – Motegi
- November 10 Valencia – Valencia
*The Jerez round is still to subject to the finalization of a new contract.
[Source: Dorna; Photo by GEPA Pictures]