Everyone wants a piece of the pie.
The 2021 MotoGP season will kick off on March 28, 2021, with two rounds at the Losail Circuit in Qatar. The Doha stop has represented the series’ lone race on the Saudi Arabian Peninsula since it joined the calendar in 2004. Now, an Arabian prince hopes to expand MotoGP’s presence in the region by building an ambitious motorsports complex in Qiddiya.
Serving as the Saudi Automobile Federation President, Faisal bin Khalid bin Sultan Al Saud leads planning to transform the region into a city of motors. Located just outside of the capital city of Riyadh, Prince Faisal hopes the complex will host rallies, motocross events, and MotoGP races.
“We want to host all the most prestigious competitions in the world,” Prince Faisal told Moto.it. “Including MotoGP, which is considered one of the most important sports in the world here."
While planning is in the very early stages, designers are developing a track to suit Formula 1, MotoGP, and World Endurance Championship events. Ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Wurz drafted the initial sketches of the course and it will draw from several historical sources.
“The project is 7.8 km long, with two zones: one inspired by Nürburgring, more winding, and another that we call the City Loop, more Monegasque in style,” said Qiddiya Automotive and Racing President Andrew Mallory.
Regardless of the track’s length and layout, the project has a long road ahead. Along with the numerous race courses, planners will have to account for infrastructure, amenities, and lodging to cater to the visiting population. Aside from the building, contracts with MotoGP are also contingent on track run-off sections, safety protocols, medical facilities, and other on-site accommodations.
Similar to the Qatar Grand Prix, a prospective Saudi Arabian round would likely join the calendar as a night race. In 2008, MotoGP moved the Losail round to the evening to avoid high temperatures experienced during the day. The Qiddiya facilities may be a state-of-the-art complex once completed, but they’ll also have to cater to MotoGP’s safety standards if they want to attract the race series.