Bulgaria finally seals deal to host MotoGP from 2012

Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder of the MotoGP world championship, world motorcycling's premier international series, has signed a preliminary agreement to host a race in Bulgaria from 2012. Carmelo Ezpeleta, the chief executive of Dorna, attended a signing ceremony in the capital, Sofia, to confirm...........click headline for more

Length of contract: 5 years | Annualised value: US$7 million | Overall value: US$35 million

Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder of the MotoGP world championship, world motorcycling's premier international series, has signed a preliminary agreement to host a race in Bulgaria from 2012. Carmelo Ezpeleta, the chief executive of Dorna, attended a signing ceremony in the capital, Sofia, to confirm the agreement.

Ezpeleta has signed a deal with the president of the Bulgarian Motorcycle Federation, Bogdan Nikolov, in the presence of government officials including the President of the Bulgarian State Agency for Youth and Sports, Vassela Letcheva. He also met prime minister Sergei Stanishev to "further discuss the project".

Ezpeleta said: "The Bulgarian government demonstrated great interest in bringing a Grand Prix here and it will be an important development for us, having never staged a race here before. We are highly confident in Bulgaria's ability to host and organise Grands Prix efficiently and safely."

It is understood that Bulgaria will pay around US$7 million in annual franchise fees over the five year duration of the contract. However there is no permanent circuit currently in the country, with Nikolov indicating that a final decision will shortly be made to start construction work at one of two sites. "It's still not clear which track will host the races as we're still thinking over two options," he said. The most likely solution is for a circuit to be built near Dolna Mitropoliya in the north of the country.

The Bulgarian event is the third new race to be announced in under a year as MotoGP expands into new markets. A preliminary agreement, similar to that signed in Bulgaria, is in place in Singapore for a race to be held in either 2010 or 2011 at a new circuit near the city-state's international airport at Changi. Meanwhile Hungary is scheduled to host a Grand Prix in August, at a new circuit near the tourist resort of Lake Balaton. Construction delays have, however, recently put the race in doubt.