The provisional 2018 MotoGP Championship calendar has been published.
Thailand will host MotoGP for the first time.
The 2018 season will start one week earlier and end an extra week later than usual.
Dorna has released the provisional 2018 MotoGP calendar. The dates and rounds are as follows:
- Round 1: 18 March Qatar* Doha/Losail
- Round 2: 8 April Argentina Termas de Rio Hondo
- Round 3: 22 April Americas COTA
- Round 4: 6 May Spain Jerez de la Frontera
- Round 5: 20 May France Le Mans
- Round 6: 3 June Italy Mugello
- Round 7: 17 June Catalunya Catalunya
- Round 8: 01 July Netherlands TT Assen
- Round 9: 15 July Germany Sachsenring
- Round 10: 5 August Czech Republic Brno
- Round 11: 12 August Austria Red Bull Ring
- Round 12: 26 August Great Britain TBA
- Round 13: 9 September San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Misano
- Round 14: 23 September Aragon MotorLand Aragon
- Round 15: 7 October Thailand Buriram
- Round 16: 21 October Japan Motegi
- Round 17: 28 October Australia Phillip Island
- Round 18: 4 November Malaysia Sepang
- Round 19: 18 November Valencia Ricardo Tormo-Valencia
As expected, Buriram, Thailand’s addition brings the total number of rounds to 19. Malaysia still hosts the penultimate round but the date has been bumped to 4th November, instead of the customary late-October slot.
The Thai round will be held on 7th October, with the next weekend off, before resuming the usual three rounds in a row – Japan, Australia, Malaysia – beginning 21st October.
It’s a wise move by Dorna to give space between Thailand and Malaysia, lest the crowd be split between two neighbouring countries.
The extra round means shuffling the customary dates. Qatar will begin a week earlier than usual, and hopefully miss the unexpected rainstorm which wreaked havoc on this year’s race schedule. The 4-week summer break between July and August will be cut to just two. The 2018 MotoGP Championship ends one week later at Aragon on 18th November.
The venue of the British round has yet to be confirmed, following the Circuit of Wales fallout.
A few riders had raised concerns about the championship featuring too many rounds, citing the possibility of not receiving enough rest between races. Finland is set to join the MotoGP calendar in 2019, bringing the total to a manic 20 rounds.