MotoGP, WTCR announce calendar changes

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The MotoGP and the WTCR championship have released their updated race calendar after both series have been forced to rethink its original schedule due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

The 2021 MotoGP Championship is poised to kick-start with a double-header event at the Losail International CIrucit. The first round will be named Qatar Grand Prix while the second one will be staged as Doha Grand Prix.

The season opening Grand Prix in Qatar remains confirmed for the 26th to the 28th of March. The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal will then host the third round of the Championship from the 16th to the 18th of April before the paddock heads to the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto as previously planned.

The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and resulting lockdowns and complications have led to the postponement of both the Argentina GP and the Americas GP until the last quarter of 2021.

The inaugural race of Finnland’s KymiRing, which was postponed and then called off last year due to the pandemic, is poised to take place on 11 July. The updated 19-round calendar features Valencia as the season-finishing race. The feasibility of the postponed Argentina GP and Americas GP will be assessed later on while a possible race in Mandalika, Indonesia is named as reserve venue.

The third running of the MotoE Championship will feature six round with Jerez, Le Mans, Barcelona, Assen, Spielberg and Misano set to welcome the fully electric competition.

Late start to the WTCR season

The ongoing travel restriction and the imposing of new national lockdowns resulted in a heavy update to the calendar of the 2021 WTCR season. The start of the new season has been pushed back to June.

The eight-event schedule is poised to begin at the legendary Nürburgring Nordschleife where the 64 heart-stopping twists and turns are set to bring an exciting start to the season depite the delay.

Following the start in Germany, the field will head towards Portugal’s Vila Real, followed by the round on Spain’s MotorLand Aragón race track. Although Italy’s upgraded Adria International Raceway missed out on a WTCR date last year, it is set to make its debut in 2021. WTCR Race of Hungary moves from mid-May to the height of summer with the Hungaroring hosting the action from August 21-22.

With the European leg of the WTCR season now set to be completed in late August, the planned return to Asia has been put back by one week. The inaugural South Korean race is scheduled for October 16-17, followed by a race in China with the Macau race track is set to bring the season to an end.

Commenting on the changes to the schedule, Xavier Gavory, WTCR Director, said: “While the COVID-19 vaccination rollout continues to provide hope for all and vital protection to those most at risk, such as the elderly and the incredible frontline workers helping to fight this pandemic, it’s a complex process that takes time to fully implement.

Combined with travel restrictions and other national constraints, and given the WTCR schedule for 2021 is restricted to eight events, delaying the season start to June is the most sensible step to take in order to safeguard the calendar and the WTCR stakeholders and, at the same time, respect the communities and countries hosting WTCR events.

„We thank the FIA and all our partners and promoters for supporting and accommodating these small but unavoidable changes to the calendar ahead of what promises to be another action packed and memorable WTCR season when the new FIA WTCR Female Title and redefined FIA WTCR Junior Title are being launched,” Gavory added.