MotoGP To Race In Kazakhstan in 2023 - Why racing there is fundemantally wrong
In 2023 MotoGP will race in Kazakhstan. Dorna and the officials at Sokol International Racetrack sign a five-year deal.
2023 will mark the start to a new era in which MotoGP will explore new markets as Sokol International Racetrack will join the calendar.
The Herrmann Tilke designed racetrack outside of of Kazakhstan largest city Almaty will be the 74th venue to host MotoGP races.
Having started work on the track in 2012, buiilding came to a halt in 2019 due to unknown reasons. It was only with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic that work could be largely completed.
MotoGP is the first major international racing series to hold a race at Sokol International Racetrack. With the move to Kazakhstan, MotoGP is tapping into the large Central Asian market.
Nevertheless, there is a sour taste to it, looking back at various protests from 2020. Russian so called “peacemakers” had violently put down multiple protests and civil uprisings.
Protestors in Kazakhstan in 2020 – Later the president ordered the troops to shoot to kill protestors
As Amnesty International reports, the human rights situation in the country is critical, freedom of expression is massively restricted.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, the country has been governed not in a repressive, but authoritarian manner.
Signing a deal for a race in the middle of nowhere in a non-democratic country under the background of what happened there in 2020 is very close to sportswashing.
Racing at Sokol International Racetrack is fundamentally wrong and just another step in Dorna’s more F1-like approach to selecting race holding venues.