MotoGP set for Thailand debut in 2018

2017-06-06 12:55
Valentino Rossi (Getty Images)

Bangkok - Thailand's sports authority says it has secured rights to host a MotoGP race next year, after years of lobbying to bring top motorcycle racing to the kingdom. 

The Sports Authority of Thailand (SAT) said on its Facebook page that MotoGP owners Dorna Sports gave them the green light after talks on Saturday in Florence, Italy. 

The motorcycling equivalent of Formula One will stage a grand prix in Buriram, a provincial Thai city in the impoverished rice farming northeast that has been transformed into a sporting hub. 

"The talks took three hours and concluded with Dorna Sports being willing to give Thailand rights for three years beginning in 2018 up to 2020," said the statement which was published on Sunday.

It stated the first race weekend would be held between October 5-7, 2018, but there has been no official confirmation of the deal from MotoGP or owners Dorna Sports yet. The SAT said it expected to receive "written confirmation" shortly. 

A Thai debut for MotoGP would be a personal coup for Newin Chidchob, a 58-year-old survivor of Thailand's bear-pit politics who has enticed deep-pocketed contacts into building sports facilities in his hometown of Buriram. 

In 2014 he unveiled the $58.9 million Formula One-certified circuit in the 30 000 population town.

The motorcycling extravaganza could pour millions of dollars into Buriram, a huge sum for a province that was once among Thailand's poorest. 

Thailand's junta has earmarked millions of dollars to win the hosting of MotoGP in partnership with private sponsors. 

Thai sports authorities also want to stage Formula One, but political instability has so far hampered efforts to secure the motor sport jewel in the crown.

Read more on:    motorsport


Read News24’s Comments Policy

Love 2 Meet
Sport24 on Twitter

Follow Sport24 news on Twitter


The 2019/20 Absa Premiership season is in full swing. Will Mamelodi Sundowns retain their title? Or can one of Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando Pirates, Wits, SuperSport United - or another team perhaps - snatch glory from the Brazilians? Be sure to visit Sport24 for all the latest news!

Latest blogs

Hypothetically, given the same cars to drive, who is the most talented current Formula One driver in your opinion?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.