MotoGP agrees to stage race in Saudia

RIYADH (Agencies): MotoGP has signed a memorandum of understanding to race in Saudi Arabia. Dorna, the sport’s commercial rights holder, said a future Saudi Arabian race would be held on a newly constructed, multi-purpose circuit, but have not specified where.

MotoGP has raced in the region since 2004 with a floodlit night grand prix in Qatar. Saudi Arabia made its Formula One debut last December as part of a 15-year-deal. It also hosts the annual Dakar Rally, all-electric Formula E and Extreme E.

However, the Gulf kingdom is one of the states accused of investing in sport and using high-profile events to ‘sports wash’ its reputation in other parts of the world. In March, on the eve of the country’s second-ever Formula One race, seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton repeated his call for an improvement of their human rights record. Last year’s purchase of Premier League club Newcastle United, by a group led by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund, also prompted similar concerns.