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Hayden, Smith talk 2016 MotoGP calendar

Indianapolis exit, British MotoGP moved to July, new order for October flyaway races were main changes on provisional 2016 calendar.
The biggest change revealed by the provisional 2016 MotoGP calendar involves the loss of Indianapolis, which will be replaced by Austria.

For Nicky Hayden, the only American on the MotoGP field, the news was naturally disappointing.

“It's a shame. Indy made some changes and the city I think liked the race and I thought it was a nice event - obviously I'm biased! I live three hours away,” said the 2006 world champion.

“It was a fun event. They had the dirt track and a lot of stuff going on. But I can understand - two races in America, the market is not that big for MotoGP. The TV is not great. It's a shame. Hopefully it can come back some time.”

British rider Bradley Smith is also sad to see the Indianapolis event disappear. The famous motor speedway first hosted MotoGP in 2008, when it was twinned with a round at Laguna Seca. However the Californian circuit lost its place in 2014, making Indianapolis more expensive in the process.

“I'm disappointed. I liked Indy as a race track, but I think the biggest problem was it was a nightmare logistically for us in the championship,” said the Monster Yamaha tech 3 rider.

“It was so expensive for everyone to do. Not only MotoGP, but Moto2 and Moto3, to fly everything out there for four days, then turn around and fly everything back to the Czech Republic. The teams and everything like that.

“It just didn't fit into the championship but if we go to Brazil or another South American country in the future, then maybe we can tie something back in with that track, because it's certainly good enough to be on the MotoGP calendar. It's just too expensive at this moment in time.

“Especially now if you look at the calendar today, everything ties in perfectly with Brno and Austria, it's just going to save everyone a huge chunk on their travel budget. I think that was one of the main reasons for it, rather than it being a problem as a track.”

Austin, Texas will now be the only American MotoGP event in 2016.

Turning to his home British round, Smith was asked about Silverstone being moved from the end of August to mid-July, putting it close to the circuit's F1 race (June 26).

“I haven't seen the F1 calendar. I don't know how many crossover fans that we have, but it's going to be close,” he said. “I don't know if that's going to affect us more in terms of numbers. But that's not really my worry. That's down to promotional things.

“Weather in July? It can be anything, let's be honest! Right now in England it's 23, 24 degrees, the next day it's 12 and raining. It really just depends. I think it's going to be better weather personally.”

Another amendment will see the order of the three flyaway races in October changed for 2016. Instead of Japan-Australia-Malaysia (on consecutive weekends) it will be Malaysia-Japan-Australia.

“For the riders, it's going to be easier,” Smith said. “Because you're not going to Malaysia, which is the hardest race of the whole season, at the end of three back-to-backs. Malaysia the third race of a back-to-back is brutal for everyone, especially if it's dry every session. Finally, you're just in pieces in terms of jet lag and everything.

“So as a rider, I'm happier that we're going there before. Looking at Australia, I'm happier that it's later in October, because it's going to be working more towards better weather, fingers crossed.

“It does make sense what they've decided to do, but it's going to be a long one when you've finished three weeks and have to come back from Australia.”

Smith added that the riders themselves may have influenced the reshuffle.

“I think we've always requested a change of date for Australia, that's something we've always pushed for,” he revealed. “If you have a look at the timetable, the way that it is, it's something the Safety Commission have tried.

“The issue is Formula 1 still takes priority with Victoria Park, and also there's a horse race, the Australia Cup, so it's always in that area. So it's limited, but this is the best Phillip Island position we have had in the championship, bar going at the start of the season when World Superbikes go there.”

While Smith has re-signed for Tech 3, Hayden is yet to confirm his 2016 plans amid rumours he is considering a move to World Superbikes.

Tagged as: calendar , Smith , 2016 , hayden

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