x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Ducati unveiling to take place at Yas Marina

Could be first step towards hosting MotoGP in the UAE.

Gary Meenaghan

DUBAI // Yas Marina Circuit will take a provisional step towards hosting a round of MotoGP after Richard Cregan, the chief executive, confirmed the UAE capital is to host the worldwide launch of Ducati's new generation superbike.

Cregan has long made it known he is keen to bring motorbike racing to Abu Dhabi, and Yas will today stage the launch of the Italian manufacturer's 1199 Panigale S.

This weekend's event, which will be attended by the three-time Superbikes world champion Troy Bayliss, will provide an early indicator as to how the track is suited to MotoGP.

"We are looking at this event as the first step to having top-level bikes at the circuit," said Cregan, who added there has already been some changes to the track.

When asked what further changes are required, Cregan said: "I think there are still some discussions between MotoGP and FIM whether gravel traps are necessary, so we are keeping an eye on that. But other than that, it's minor changes."

He added: "Ducati looked at a number of places around the world, so the fact they have chosen to launch here in Abu Dhabi is great."