LISBON (Reuters) - The
Portuguese Grand Prix will be the MotoGP’s season-opening race in 2023, organizers said on Tuesday.
Qatar has opened the MotoGP season since 2007, apart from 2020 when the race was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, Qatar’s Lusail circuit is set to undergo extensive renovation and will only be able to host a race following the completion of work.
“The full, provisional 2023 MotoGP calendar will be published by the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) in due course, but the first event can already be confirmed,” MotoGP said in a statement.
“The 2023 Portuguese GP will mark the first time the MotoGP™ calendar has begun in Europe since 2006 and will be only the third season opener held in Europe in more than three decades.
“It will also be the first time Portugal has ever hosted the first race of the year, with expectation ahead of the new season set to hit full speed on the Algarve as the grid debut with their new colours and machinery, and the first trophies of the season are awarded.
“There will also be official pre-season tests held at Portimão during the weeks before the event, the dates of which will be confirmed soon.”
The MotoGP calendar has been headed by Qatar since 2007, the nation also holding the final pre-season test ahead of the encounter – though this arrangement will likely be ended as a result of its replacement as season opener.
The last European MotoGP season opener was the Spanish GP at Jerez back in 2006, an event won by Ducati rider Loris Capirossi ahead of Honda duo Dani Pedrosa and the late Nicky Hayden.