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Pressure increases on Australian GP date change

15 February 2011

The future of the MotoGP Australian Grand Prix remains in doubt as Dorna and organisers at Phillip Island continue to clash over a change in the race's calendar date.

Carmelo Ezpeleta has been adamant that MotoGP will not return to Phillip Island beyond 2011 unless organisers agree to a move that will see the event occur earlier than its traditional October slot.

The pressure from Dorna has been prompted by the onslaught of poor weather conditions at the Melbourne venue in recent years, with cool temperatures, wind and rain causing particular problems for the riders.

However, organisers aren't keen to see the event pushed up the calendar due to the proximity with its other headline event, the World Superbike Championship, which usually takes place in February.

Indeed, while Australian Grand Prix corporation chairman Ron Walker has been active in working with Dorna, Ezpeleta insists there is only one solution.

"Ron Walker told me in an email that he would come back to me as soon as possible with dates for 2012," Ezpeleta told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"In 2010, we were very close to cancelling the race. If all the weekend the weather was like Friday, which could happen, then we cannot run the event.

"This is the matter we are discussing, and it is not just the rain, but the problem at Phillip Island is rain and the cold and then the tyres are not up to temperature. The riders have strongly requested to us to change the date.

"Our position has not changed at all. 'We want the race moving to earlier in the year for 2012, and the corporation is aware of our position."

The MotoGP safety commission, led by Valentino Rossi, have also led calls for the race to be moved to a more suitable summer date.


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