A MotoGP racetrack could be built in Greece!

MotoGP

Deputy Minister of Sports Lefteris Avgenakis has opened the prospect of building a MotoGP track of international standards in Greece.

In particular, Avgenakis’s proposal to construct a runway at the “Nikos Kazantzakis” airport, once the new airport of Heraklion in Kastelli is operational, is gaining traction according to Proto Thema.

His statements came on the heels of Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis's speech, who said: “Our attention will be turned to the utilisation of the Kazantzakis airport. We will listen to the thoughts and suggestions of the local community."

"I will not – under any circumstances – let 18 years pass again, as unfortunately happened with Elliniko, from the moment, that is, when the airport was moved to Spata, and for this very important area to remain inactive," he added.

The proposal is based on the basic parameters of such an undertaking, as a track should ideally be located near an international airport and a port, as well as having the ability to host tens of thousands of visitors on race days and even more ideally, be located in an area with a temperate climate so that it works smoothly.

The proposal of the Deputy Minister of Sports also includes hosting a MotoGP World Championship race. Mr. Lefteris Avgenakis recently had discussions with Carmelo Ezpeleta, head of the company that manages the commercial and televised Moto GP, Dorna, regarding the possibility of holding a race in our country.

Both were positive on the prospect and the costs and efficiency of such cooperation have been examined.

Referring to the deputy minister’s proposal, the airport master of Heraklion, Giorgos Pliakas, commented: “It is an excellent idea. It is possible to utilise part of the facilities, but also the two runways, take-off-landing, the auxiliary, and the peripheral roads. It is important that the entire area belongs to the State.”

Accordingly, Michalis Vlatakis, President of Tourist & Travel Agents of Crete, added: “I have had a dream for a long time, to see Heraklion become Monte Carlo. An international standard track can be a first-class tool to have tourism 12 months a year.”

Nikos Chalkiadakis, President of Heraklion Hoteliers, emphasized “I believe that half of the area will remain as a military base. If the military department leaves many things can be done. Still, even half the area is more than enough for the construction of a modern track. I’m in favor of this idea.”

Giorgos Christodoulakis (president of the Association of Entrepreneurs of Apartments and Rooms for Rent in the Prefecture of Heraklion “FILOXENIA”) added: “We are in complete agreement with the proposal. We will benefit and it will be a great advertisement for the island. I believe that it is the best possible use that can be made in this area”.

The Deputy Minister of Sports emphasised that after the elections, talks with all the parties about this project can start.

The timing is considered favourable as Greece, due to the successful organisation of the Acropolis Rally, has a good reputation from outside in the world of motorsports, Dorna wishes to organise a Moto GP race in Greece, the temperate climate of Crete favours the operation of the track in winter months (low tourist season) when most European tracks are closed and also it is extremely rare to find such a large flat area next to the urban network and owned by only one owner (Government).

In any case, such a facility can work all year round and not only for the organisation of competitions.

The main volume of work of such an infrastructure is the development tests of racing teams, car manufacturers, or even tires. Of course, it will also be able to function as a technology hub for university students, as well as a place for training and developing a road safety culture.

The proposal was made in the presence of all the involved bodies in Tourism in Crete and many officials of the Local Government, during the conference organised by the Deputy Ministry of Sports, with the co-organization of the Hoteliers’ Union of Heraklion, the Association of Tourist and Travel Agents of Crete, PANCRETAN HOTEL MANAGERS ASSOCIATION, the Chamber of Heraklion, the Panhellenic Federation of Hotel Managers, etc.

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