Saudi Arabia keen to host future MotoGP race

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Saudi Arabia wants to add MotoGP to the list of world championship motorsport events it already hosts, the country’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Turki al Faisal said on Tuesday.

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Speaking in a Q&A ahead of this weekend’s Saudi Formula One Grand Prix in Jeddah, he said the Kingdom was already the home of motorsport in the region with all-electric Formula E championship and Dakar Rally as well as Extreme E.

“We now host three FIA World Championship events and are looking at more in the future,” he said.

“There is an ambition to expand and develop the motorsport we host and one we are considering in due course is MotoGP.

“I know that it will require a different type of racetrack to Jeddah, one which has a special specification for bikes, but with our new motorsport and entertainment city currently under construction in Qiddiya, it is something that will be considered for the future.”

MotoGP has raced in Qatar since 2004 and that floodlit night grand prix race is currently the only Middle Eastern round on the calendar.

Saudi Arabia made its Formula One debut last December as part of a 15-year-deal.

It is expected to move eventually to Qiddiya, about an hour’s drive from the capital Riyadh, once a permanent circuit has been built.

Prince Abdulaziz said ticket sales for this year’s race were strong, with much greater demand from international fans.

“Like many promoters we have seen the impact of the ‘Max Factor’ and we’ve had a lot of interest from Dutch fans who want to purchase tickets and support their hero Max Verstappen wherever he races in the world,” he said.

Red Bull’s Verstappen won last year’s title after a season-long battle with Mercedes’ seven-times world champion Lewis Hamilton. Verstappen retired from last Sunday’s opener in Bahrain.

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