Philip Island will continue to host the MotoGP Australian Grand Prix until 2026 after a new long-term contract was announced by the Victoria State Government this weekend.
The Philip Island Grand Prix Circuit first hosted the Australian Grand Prix back in 1989 before the race moved to Eastern Creek in 1991.
The race returned to Philip Island in 1997 and has remained there ever since, traditionally being held towards the end of the MotoGP season.
On Sunday, Australian minister for tourism and major events John Eren announced that a deal had been struck to keep the MotoGP race and the World Superbike rounds at Philip Island for the foreseeable future.
“Our motorsports events at Phillip Island are flagship dates on our calendar, and they’re going nowhere. Phillip Island will remain at the centre of world motorsport for many years to come,” Eren said.
“These events create a unique buzz around Phillip Island, attract visitors to Victoria from all over the globe, and show the world we have the best of everything.”
Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of MotoGP commercial rights’ holder Dorna, added: “The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix and the FIM Superbike World Championship have a strong history at Phillip Island, and have become part of the Island’s fabric.
“I am delighted the Victorian Government has decided to continue this longstanding, mutually beneficial relationship.”
In a continuing effort to help fans keep track of the on track action, SuperMotocross is in the process of developing and implementing leader lights for the unified series.
Currently Supercross (SMX) utilizes stanchions in the infield that are triggered manually by a race official. At least two stanchions are used in each race as a way to draw the eye to the leader, which is especially useful in the tight confines of the stadium series when lapping often begins before the halfway mark in the 22-bike field. This system has been in place for the past two decades.
Later this year, a fully automated system will move to the bike itself to replace the old system. At that point, fans will be able to identify the leader regardless of where he is on track.
The leader lights were tested in the second Anaheim round this year. An example can be seen at the 1:45 mark in the video above on the No. 69 bike.
“What we don’t want to do is move too fast, where it’s confusing to people,” said Mike Muye, senior director of operations for Supercross and SMX in a press release. “We’ve really just focused on the leader at this point with the thought that maybe down the road we’ll introduce others.”
Scheduled to debut with the first SuperMotocross World Championship race at zMax Dragway, located just outside the Charlotte Motor Speedway, a 3D carbon fiber-printed LED light will be affixed to each motorcycle. Ten timing loops positioned around the track will trigger the lights of the leader, which will turn green.
SMX’s partner LiveTime Scoring helped develop and implement the system that has been tested in some form or fashion since 2019.
When the leader lights are successfully deployed, SuperMotocross will explore expanding the system to identify the second- and third-place riders. Depending on need and fan acceptance, more positions could be added.
SuperMotocross is exploring future enhancements, including allowing for live fan interaction with the lights and ways to use the lighting system during the race’s opening ceremony.
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