until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League


MotoGP's long-doubted new race is going ahead after all

by Simon Patterson
3 min read

until Abu Dhabi Autonomous Racing League

It’s looking increasingly likely that MotoGP's 2024 Kazakh Grand Prix will go ahead this June after a new stakeholder meeting earlier this month signed off on the majority of work needed at the Sokol International Circuit.

The first scheduled race at the track failed to happen 12 months ago thanks to a myriad of reasons, foremost of which was unsatisfactory progress with bringing the venue to spec to host what will be its first international competition.

Rumours suggesting that the same would happen in 2024 haven’t gone away from the MotoGP paddock in recent months either, with control tyre manufacturer Michelin initially believed to have been told by series bosses Dorna not to prepare a shipment to transport to the circuit.

However, those rumours changed late last month when something of a provisional green light was given by Dorna when broadcasters were told to start booking their flights and accommodation ahead of a key inspection of the circuit in the past few days.

And, according to a report produced by the inspection team following that visit, circulated to teams in the paddock and seen by The Race, it seems increasingly likely that the event will go ahead as planned on June 16, as more and more work is completed.

We are pleased to report that the feeling from the visit was positive and whilst there is still a lot of work to be done, this is solely related to the pit building, teams’ offices and pit boxes, with the track fully completed barring painting," it read.

“With this in mind, we all feel that there are no insurmountable hurdles and that with effort, everything can be made fully ready to host an exciting inaugural Grand Prix in Kazakhstan.”

The report also detailed some of the steps that have been taken by the circuit owners to ensure that the event runs smoothly. That includes several experienced partners from the Middle East region being drafted in to help organise both the on and off-track action at Sokol.

These include Dubai-based events management companies Ellvee and Blink Experience, both of whom have extensive Formula 1 experience, and the Saudi Motorsport Company, the dedicated commercial and operational entity established to run all of Saudi’s motorsport activities.

It seems that there’s also a familiar face working with them to ensure that everything goes ahead smoothly, with former Sepang Circuit CEO and Petronas Yamaha and RNF Racing Aprilia team principal Razlan Razali one of those present in Sokol for the inspection.

However, the report also acknowledges one issue likely to cause some problems for the paddock when they attend the race: the track’s location.

Located an hour and a half’s drive from the nearby city of Almaty and with very little infrastructure in the area, it means that racers, teams, staff and media are likely to face a long commute to and from the venue every day - something else that they are working to alleviate for at least some of the grid.

“There are plans to open a new ring road,” stated the report, “which should cut the travel time and in the future, there will be more hotels located closer to the track, but for 2024 we will have to accept extended travel times.

“Above the pitboxes there are 24 twin-room suites primarily for the MotoGP class riders to rent. The concept is to keep the price within the range of an office space that teams would normally rent for the riders, but with the added benefit of being a fully furnished small serviced apartment which could be used for the duration of the GP and without the need of having to travel to and from a hotel.”

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