MotoGP has a brief and troublesome history with Hungary. In 1990, the race series held the inaugural Hungarian Grand Prix at the famous Hungaroring. Unfortunately, rider safety concerns with the F1-style barriers and track conditions led to MotoGP removing the circuit from its 1991 calendar. The series returned in 1992, but that marked the last time a MotoGP race was held on Hungarian soil.
However, times change and MotoGP is set to return to the Land of Magyars in 2023. Named the Magyar Nemzetkozi Motodrome, the new track will be constructed in Hungary’s second-largest city (behind Budapest), Debrecen. At 5 km long, the Motodrome will be one of the longest courses on the MotoGP calendar. It will also feature 15 turns and multiple elevation changes.
“We are very grateful that Dorna (MotoGP rights holder) decided to take our offer and we are going to build a brand-new track and in that sense, a brand-new style of MotoGP track,” said Hungarian Minister of National Innovation and Technology Laszlo Palkovics.
Circuit designers reportedly drew inspiration from the world-renowned Suzuka International Racing Course in Japan, which MotoGP hasn’t raced at since the 2003 Japanese Grand Prix. While the Motodrome doesn’t resemble Suzuka’s narrow layout or feature overpasses, the Japanese circuit is over 5 km long itself and consists of 18 corners.
Track organizers are also hoping to draw Formula 1 races to the new course by meeting FIA standards for barriers, medical centers, and other on-site facilities. With F1 already committed to holding the Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring through 2027, the Motodrome may not host the car race series until after that period. Instead, the Motodrome will cater to MotoGP in its first years of operation.
Of course, there’s a lot of time between now and the 2023 season. Previous attempts to bring MotoGP back to Hungary stalled in 2010 with the embattled construction of the Balatonring. The Aragon Grand Prix (Spain) eventually took the place of the Hungarian Grand Prix that year and the Balatonring was never completed. Hopefully, the Motodrome’s fortunes are different.
“The investment is quite a significant investment but when we made our business models, it’s worth it. It is a good economic investment,” ensured Palkovics.