MotoGP 2023 calendar: India, Kazakhstan confirmed on 21-race schedule

The MotoGP 2023 calendar confirms India and Kazakhstan as part of a 21-race season, while Aragon is dropped to reduce the number of Iberian races to three.

Start of the 2022 Portuguese MotoGP at Portimao

MotoGP has confirmed its provisional calendar for the 2023 MotoGP season, featuring India, Kazakhstan, and only three races on the Iberian Peninsula. 

Both India and Kazakhstan have emerged as potential races in recent weeks, but only today have they been confirmed as part of a 2023 provisional calendar for MotoGP. The full calendar can be viewed below. 

As we already knew, Qatar will not be the opening round of the season next year as the Lusail International Circuit undergoes modifications in view of Formula One, and instead the season will begin in the Algarve in Portugal at the end of March. 

Other notable changes for 2023 is the movement of all of the Asian races - bar Kazakhstan - to the end of the season. In one way, this is positive. Compared to the recently announced F1 calendar, which listed its Belgian Grand Prix on the same weekend as the 24 Hours of Spa GT3 race, and made several trips both west and east of Europe throughout its 24 races - MotoGP have at least lined up the vast majority of their Asian races in one trip east of Europe. 

Similarly, Argentina and the US are next to each other for the Americas trip, which will surely have riders eagerly awaiting the announcement of the 2023 AMA Supercross calendar to see if they can drop into one on the weekend off in between the two. 

But, switching back to the Asian tour, which next year will begin with India at the end of September, the condensation of the back end of the calendar is quite significant. From India to the end of the season there are eight races: India, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia, Qatar, and Valencia. The final one, in Valencia, will take place 10 weeks after the first one, India.

That is quite the end to the season, which will no doubt take its toll on the team personnel, and put increased pressure on the riders - esppecially those fighting for world titles - to not crash and get hurt.

When the championship finally does arrive in Valencia on 24 November, it will be precisely eight months old, and on the Tuesday after the race will be a one-day test. It is hard to assume - given recent experiences in Valencia - that it will be an especially warm test, and therefore the amount of meaningful running - or running at all - will be extremely limited. 

Finally, when the season is over, MotoGP will have visited Spain only three times for the first time since 2009. Since Portimao came on the calendar in the Covid-affected 2020 season, there have been five races on the Iberian Peninsula: Spain, Catalunya, Aragon, Valencia, and Portugal. It has been Dorna's idea for a while to reduce that number and rotate some of those five circuits. 

It is hard to imagine the Spanish Grand Prix moving from Jerez, Valencia is final round staple displaced not even by Qatar, and Portimao is the only Portuguese race. Therefore, one of Barcelona or Aragon would be dropped, and it has turned out to be Aragon. 

In one way, it is positive, because with only one World Championship race next year (presumably, at least; WorldSBK), there might be the capacity for MotorLand Aragon to be resurfaced, which seemed to be something the MotoGP riders wanted when they visited earlier this year. On the other hand, Barcelona also needs resurfacing (again), but if it gets 2024 off it might have the chance to get it done then. 

The negative side of losing Aragon is of course that it is a fantastic circuit. It has provided some great racing since it arrived on the calendar in 2010, especially in the last two years, and is regarded as one of Hermann Tilke's few excellent racetracks. It is a shame to lose it, but hopefully it will be back in 2024. 

It is important to note that the calendar released by MotoGP for the 2023 MotoGP World Championship season is at the moment provisional, and therefore subject to change. Note, on the tweet from the official MotoGP Twitter account, that the two asterisks next to the Kazakh and Indian Grands Prix indicate "subject to homologation".

Indian Grand Prix confirmed

The below text is from the original version of this article published on the morning of 30 September 2022 when MotoGP confirmed the Indian Grand Prix for 2023.

After the announcement of a Memorandum of Understanding being signed between Indian promoters Fairstreet Sports and Dorna Sports, the commercial rights holder for MotoGP, it has now been confirmed that the first MotoGP Indian Grand Prix of a new deal between the two will be held next season, in 2023. 

The race will take place at the Buddh International Circuit, which was previously the home of F1 in India between 2011 and 2013. There were also plans for WorldSBK to go to Buddh in 2013 before the circuit ran into financial difficulties. 

With a population of 1.4 billion people, and roads filled with more than 200 million motorcycles, India seems an obvious place for MotoGP to visit. 

“Two-wheeled transportation counts for nearly 75% of the total number of vehicles used daily,” a MotoGP release reads, “making India one of the biggest motorcycle markets in the world and a key focus for the manufacturers in the MotoGP paddock.”

Mr. Yogi Adityanath, Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh said: “It’s a matter of great pride for Uttar Pradesh to host such a global event. Our government will provide full support to MotoGP Bharat.”

Mr. Nand Gopal “Nandi”, Cabinet Minister, Government of Uttar Pradesh said: “This event will provide a major impetus to the economy by generating an influx of foreign investment in the state.”

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta added: “We’re very proud to announce that Buddh International Circuit will be on the 2023 calendar. We have a lot of fans in India and we’re excited to be able to bring the sport to them. 

“India is also a key market for the motorcycle industry and therefore, by extension, for MotoGP as the pinnacle of the two-wheeled world. 

“We very much look forward to racing at Buddh International Circuit and can’t wait to welcome the fans through the gates to see this incredible sport in person.”

The full 2023 MotoGP calendar is still to be released, but there was confirmation earlier this week that Kazakhstan will also be a new addition to the calendar next season. That should mean an initial calendar of 23 races for 2023, as the Finnish Grand Prix will be on the provisional calendar, at least.

Images courtesy of MotoGP.

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