The 2021 MotoGP calendar has been significantly changed before the season has got underway, with the Americas leg out and a Qatar double-header now opening the year.
The alterations to the opening races of the year are in line with rumours already reported by The Race.
MotoGP’s season will now start with back-to-back rounds at Qatar’s Losail International Circuit on March 28 and April 4.
The following two originally-scheduled April races in Argentina and the USA have, as expected, been delayed indefinitely.
It’s unlikely that they’re going to take place in 2021 thanks in part to the crowded second half of the year and due to the ongoing situation with COVID, particularly in Texas.
They will be replaced by a race in mid-April at Portugal’s Portimao circuit, with MotoGP returning to the track only weeks before Formula 1 is also scheduled to make its second appearance there.
The season will then largely run as planned following Portimao, heading to Jerez two weeks later for what was originally planned to be the first race of the European season.
With European MotoGP races able to be run successfully in 2020 despite a worse COVID situation globally, it’s anticipated that there’ll be no significant delays in that part of the season.
The final change to the schedule is that Brno has been removed from the still-provisional schedule, as local authorities and MotoGP organiser Dorna have failed to reach an agreement over the resurfacing of the historic Czech track.
Brno was originally rumoured to be replaced by a race at Russia’s new Igora Drive track, but that now seems to have been nixed as the St Petersburg venue is no longer listed as a reserve circuit.
Indonesia’s Mandalika track, still far from completed, is still on the schedule as an undated provisional circuit, but both the lack of construction progress and the crowded schedule means that’s unlikely to come to fruition in 2021.
LATEST 2021 CALENDAR
28 March Qatar – Losail
4 April Qatar – Losail
18 April Portugal – Portimao
2 May – Spain – Jerez
16 May France – Le Mans
30 May Italy – Mugello
6 June Catalunya – Barcelona
20 June Germany – Sachsenring
27 June Netherlands – Assen
11 July Finland – KymiRing
15 August Austria – Red Bull Ring
29 August Great Britain – Silverstone
12 September Aragon
19 September San Marino – Misano
3 October Japan – Motegi
10 October Thailand – Chang International
24 October Australia – Phillip Island
31 October Malaysia – Sepang
14 November Valencia
Reserve: Indonesia (Mandalika)
Postponed indefinitely: USA (Austin), Argentina (Termas de Rio Hondo)