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Page last updated at 12:16 GMT, Tuesday, 6 April 2010 13:16 UK

MotoGP keen to expand championship presence in Asia

The assembled 2010 MotoGP line-up
The MotoGP riders will have three stops in Asia in the 2010 season

MotoGP is keen to expand further into Asia in the future despite the failure of the sport to catch on in China, says championship supremo Carmelo Ezpeleta.

The 2010 campaign starts in Qatar on Sunday and Ezpeleta said despite Singapore showing great interest, he was keen to spread races around.

"It's good but there are other options and we are looking for them," he said.

"We're happy to be in Singapore if possible but we're happier if we can be in places covering different regions."

The 18-race series is largely weighted towards Europe, with four races in Spain and two in Italy.

606: DEBATE

Three of last year's races were in the Asia region - Japan, Malaysia and Australia - and the crowds they drew certainly demonstrated that there is demand for the sport in that part of the world.

Malaysia, which also hosts two of the three pre-season testing sessions, drew a total crowd in excess of 102,000 over the three-day weekend, compared to Australia's 105,000 and Japan's 65,000.

With Asia being such a huge market for motor manufacturers, Ezpeleta said the championship was keen to develop itself in the region, despite its failure to leave a lasting impression in China.

"We were in China for four years and there was not any impact," he explained.

"The promoter was just making a race but nothing to impact commercially. The opposite is Malaysia, which is working very well and every year we have more spectators."

But despite Singapore's enthusiasm, he said the close proximity of the well-established Malaysian race - only about 300km away - meant they may look for other possible new venues.

"There are other countries in Asia where we are discussing and I think the next changes in the calendar will be because we will expand in the Asian region," Ezpeleta added.

"Of course, these are preliminary discussions and we are not able to say which countries we are discussing with."



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