Estoril Confirmed On 2012 MotoGP Schedule - 18 Race Season To Go Ahead As Planned

The Portuguese MotoGP Grand Prix is to go ahead on May 6th as scheduled. After a long delay, the FIM today confirmed that the Estoril round of MotoGP is to go ahead, and the 2012 calendar will remain the full 18 races.

There had been intense speculation that the Portuguese race would be dropped from the MotoGP calendar. The round had struggled with finances, being usually surprisingly poorly attended, given the outstanding location of the track close to major tourist attractions such as the city of Lisbon, the coastal resorts of Cascais and Estoril and the UNESCO World Heritage site at Sintra, overlooking the Estoril circuit. Where normally the Portuguese government would step in to support the race, the Euro crisis and the Portugal's debt problems have forced the state to make massive spending cuts, and for a long time, it looked like the MotoGP race would fall victim to cuts.

The circuit had been given until February 15th to issue guarantees of paying the sanctioning fee, and though the official FIM press release does not mention it, it appears that the financial side of the race has now been settled. With the Sachsenring race already having been confirmed for 2012 - although the negotiations are continuing over a five-year contract for the German circuit have yet to be concluded - the confirmation of the Portuguese round of MotoGP now finalizes the calendar. 

The schedule for 2013 is likely to look very different, however. Estoril and Jerez are the two top targets to be dropped from the calendar, with both Austin and Argentina set to organize MotoGP rounds next year. Further changes are also likely, with uncertainty over funding for both Valencia and even Barcelona, and with India and Korea waiting in the wings.

Below is the final 2012 MotoGP calendar released by the FIM:

FIM Road Racing World Championship Grand Prix
2012 calendar

Dates Grand Prix Circuit
8 April Qatar* Doha/Losail
29 April Spain Jerez de la Frontera
6 May Portugal Estoril
20 May France Le Mans
3 June Catalunya Catalunya
17 June Great Britain Silverstone
30 June Netherlands** Assen
8 July Germany Sachsenring
15 July Italy Mugello
29 July United States*** Laguna Seca
19 August Indianapolis Indianapolis
26 August Czech Rep. Brno
16 September San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Misano
30 September Aragon Motorland
14 October Japan Motegi
21 October Malaysia Sepang
28 October Australia Phillip Island
11 November Valencia Ricardo Tormo – Valencia

* Evening Race
** Saturday Race
*** Only MotoGP class

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Why is it still MotoGP only at the US GP @ Laguna Seca? I thought the reason previously was because of the 2 strokes, but they are gone now.

I think they run the AMA classes at the same time, making the pits too crowded for the lower classes to fit.

After all the talk about expanding the reach of MotoGP and going to different markets, nothing has changed from last year. Hopefully next year can bring some change to the schedule.