Indianapolis dropped from 2016 MotoGP calendar

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The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been dropped from the calendar for the 2016 MotoGP season following a mutual agreement between the circuit and series promoter Dorna.

The Indianapolis Grand Prix joined the MotoGP calendar in 2008 using a configuration similar to the street course used for Formula 1 between 2000 and 2007, albeit running in the opposite direction.

Marc Marquez claimed a fifth victory at the Brickyard last month, but there were doubts about the future of the race due to concerns from both Dorna and IMS officials.

In a statement issued on Friday accompanying the provisional 2016 calendar, it was confirmed that the Indianapolis Grand Prix had been dropped for next season.

“This outcome reflects the best interests of both the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and Dorna Sports,” IMS president J. Douglas Boles said.

“We are proud of our efforts to increase attendance in recent years and successfully host a truly international sporting and cultural event. We’re also thankful to Dorna Sports for its strong support and partnership since 2008.

“However, the timing is right to pursue other opportunities that drive greater revenue for both the Speedway and our Central Indiana economy.”

The loss of Laguna Seca from the MotoGP calendar in 2014 left Indianapolis as the sole North American event in the summer months, making it logistically difficult for the paddock to manage.

Its loss has allowed a race at Austria’s Red Bull Ring to be added to the calendar, and Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta did not close the door on future races at IMS.

“Bringing MotoGP to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway has been a tremendously rewarding experience,” Ezpeleta said. “The historic track, professional staff and welcoming host community produced an annual event that was enjoyed by all.

“While both sides recognize it’s the right time to pause this relationship, the door is not closed on future collaborations together should current circumstances change.”

As a result, the Grand Prix of America in Austin, Texas is now the only American round on the MotoGP calendar for 2016.

Round  Date Grand Prix Venue
1 20 March Qatar Losail International Circuit
2 3 April Argentina Termas de Río Hondo
3 10 April Americas Circuit Of The Americas
4 24 April Spain Jerez de la Frontera
5 8 May France Le Mans
6 22 May Italy Mugello
7 5 June Catalunya Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya
8 26 June Netherlands TT Assen
9 10 July Germany Sachsenring
10 17 July Great Britain Silverstone
11 14 August Austria Red Bull Ring
12 21 August Czech Republic Brno
13 11 September San Marino Misano
14 25 September Aragon MotorLand Aragon
15 9 October Malaysia Sepang International Circuit
16 16 October Japan Twin Ring Motegi
17 23 October Australia Phillip Island
18 6 November Valencia Comunitat Valenciana – Ricardo Tormo

Houston Supercross by the numbers: Five riders begin to gap the field

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Chase Sexton stumbled in San Diego and Eli Tomac had a hard fall in Anaheim 2, but the Monster Energy Supercross numbers for Houston suggest they will continue to be the ones to beat in Houston. To do so, they will have to turn back challenges from another pair of riders who have swept the top five in the first three rounds and another with a worst finish of sixth.

Houston Supercross numbers
Cooper Webb’s ability to close races makes him a Houston favorite. – Feld Motor Sports

Despite an accident in his heat in San Diego that sent him to the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ), Sexton recovered to score a top-five that weekend. His podium finish in Anaheim 1 and overall win last week in Anaheim 2 makes him one of the three riders with a perfect top-five record. He is joined by Cooper Webb, who finished second in the first two rounds and fourth last week, and Ken Roczen, whose consistency in the first three races contributed to him grabbing the top spot in this week’s NBC Supercross Power Rankings.

There are reasons to believe Webb and Roczen can keep those streaks alive.

Webb is the only multiple winner at Supercross’ current Houston stadium. His pair of wins came in 2019 and 2021, the same year he won his two 450 championships.

Clinton Fowler points out this week, that Webb has carried that strength into 2023. Webb had a late surge in Anaheim 1, advancing from fifth to second in the final six laps. In San Diego, he set his ninth fastest lap with two to go and his eighth fastest on the final lap. He posted his fastest lap of Anaheim 2 on Lap 12 while the rest of the field did so on Lap 6 on average.

By comparison, Tomac set his 14th fastest lap on the final circuit in route to winning the Main at San Diego while he was trying to keep Webb at bay.

With a sixth at San Diego, Dylan Ferrandis barely missed sweeping the top five in his first three races as did Tomac with a sixth last week at Anaheim 2.

This will be the 46th year Supercross has visited Houston and with 55 races the city is tied for the second-most with Detroit.

Jim Pomeroy won the first race in the Astrodome during the inaugural season of 1974 on a 250, which was the premiere class at the time. Houston was one of three races held that year along with events at Daytona International Speedway and the Los Angeles Coliseum. All three venues return in 2023 with the first SuperMotocross championship finale returning to the famed LA Coliseum in September.

Webb won most recently in 2021 in the final race of three held there that year as the series executed a strategy of racing in residencies to limit travel during height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tomac and Justin Barcia also won in Houston in 2021.

Two privateers have started the season on a high note.

Joshua Cartwright and Joshua Varize have each made the last two Mains. Cartwright finished 18th in San Diego and 21st last week in Anaheim 2 – all while working fulltime as a Business Intelligence Analyst at the University of Texas, Dallas. Varize earned a top-15 (12th) in San Diego and was 21st in Anaheim 2 in his third season on a 450.

Michael Mosiman scored his first 250 win last year in San Diego. – Feld Motor Sports

The numbers show none of the active 250 Supercross East riders have won in Houston, so no matter who steps on top of the box, there is going to be a fresh face. That is not surprising since most of the top competitors have not raced at this venue yet.

Michael Mosiman has a pair of top-fives there, however. His best finish was a second in the second 2021 race. Garrett Marchbanks scored a top-10 in his rookie season of 2019 in Houston.

In the 250 East division, Hunter Lawrence is one of the favorites to win the title now that Christian Craig has moved to 450s. Last year he had four wins and nine podiums, but failed to set a fast lap in a race.

The other 250 riders with 2022 wins this week are Mosiman, who earned his first Supercross win last year in San Diego, and Nate Thrasher, who became the fifth new class winner at Daytona.

Jeremy Martin will attempt to extend a record this week in Houston. His division leading SuperMotocross podiums number 65. He has 26 wins in the combined sessions, which ranks fourth all time.

Last Five Houston Winners

450s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Cooper Webb
2021, Race 2: Eli Tomac
2021, Race 1: Justin Barcia
2020, no race
2019, Cooper Webb
2018, Jason Anderson

250s
2022, no race
2021, Race 3: Colt Nichols
2021, Race 2: Jett Lawrence
2021, Race 1: Christian Craig
2020, no race
2019, Dylan Ferrandis
2018, Aaron Plessinger

By the Numbers

Anaheim 2
San Diego

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