The FIM have issued a provisional calendar for the 2020 MotoGP season, which sees the series expand to 20 races, and lays the basis for expansion to 22 races. The biggest changes are the addition of the Kymiring in Finland in July, and the moving of the Thailand round of MotoGP in Buriram from October to 22nd March.
The racing season kicks off as ever in Qatar, the MotoGP race being moved to the first week of March. From Qatar, the series heads east to Thailand, the MotoGP race taking the slot of the WorldSBK race at Buriram. Attendance for the WorldSBK round had fallen since MotoGP went to Thailand, and so the WorldSBK round is being dropped, with another overseas round to be held in its place.
From Thailand, the paddock heads east once again to cross the International Date Line and head to Austin, the US round moving up to become the third race of the year, ahead of Argentina. The Argentina Grand Prix takes place two weeks after Austin.
After the overseas rounds, the MotoGP circus heads to Europe, for the traditional start of the season in Jerez, followed by Le Mans and Mugello. The first seven races of the year are all nicely spaced two weeks apart, but after Mugello, a series of back-to-back races ensue.
The Barcelona round takes place the week after Mugello, and then two weeks later, the series heads north to the Sachsenring, which takes place the week before Assen, instead of after it. The move has enabled the Finnish GP at the Kymiring to be slotted in as the last race before the summer break.
The riders will be pleased to hear that there will be a proper summer break, with three free weekends between Finland and Brno, the Czech Grand Prix taking place on 9th August. But it is a hard return, Brno and Austria being back-to-back in August. The British Grand Prix returns at the end of August, and will be held on the August Bank Holiday, as usual, the Misano round taking place two weeks after that.
There is then a longer break between Misano and Aragon, the Aragon race being pushed back a week to take place in early October. The series then heads overseas for the Australasian triple header, with Motegi, Phillip Island, and then Sepang being held on consecutive weekends, as usual. There had been talk of splitting the flyaways up into two blocks of two races, but the decision to move Thailand to March prevented that plan.
The series ends as always in Valencia, in the middle of November.
Testing will commence in Sepang, and there will be a Qatar test as well. The teams and Dorna had tried to get the Qatar test dropped, but the factories had objected, feeling that they needed two tests to prepare the new season. This is a battle which will be repeated after 2021, when Dorna want to expand the calendar to 22 races, for which there is a list of candidates wanting to join. Indonesia, Vietnam, and possibly a new track in Brazil could be added to the calendar.
The expansion to 20 races is unpopular inside the paddock. The racers are split on whether it is a good thing, with especially the older riders feeling there are too many races. Team and factory staff - engineers, mechanics, etc - are almost universally unhappy, as more races mean more time away from home and family.
Below is the provisional calendar for 2020, including the pre-season tests:
|7-9th February||Sepang MotoGP Test||Sepang International Circuit|
|19-21st February||Jerez Moto2/Moto3 test||Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto|
|22-24th February||Qatar MotoGP Test||Losail International Circuit|
|28/29 Feb/1st March||Qatar Moto2/3 Test||Losail International Circuit|
|8th March||Qatar*||Losail International Circuit|
|22nd March||Thailand||Chang International Circuit|
|5th April||Americas||Circuit of the Americas|
|19th April||Republica Argentina||Termas de Rio Hondo|
|3rd May||Spain||Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto|
|17th May||France||Le Mans|
|31st May||Italy||Autodromo del Mugello|
|7th June||Catalunya||Barcelona - Catalunya|
|28th June||Netherlands||TT Circuit Assen|
|9th August||Czech Republic***||Automotodrom Brno|
|16th August||Austria||Red Bull Ring-Spielberg|
|30th August||Great Britain||Silverstone|
|13th September||San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini||Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli|
|4th October||Aragón||MotorLand Aragón|
|18th October||Japan||Twin Ring Motegi|
|25th October||Australia||Philip Island|
|1st November||Malaysia||Sepang International Circuit|
|15th November||Comunitat Valenciana||Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo|
** Subject to FIM Homologation
*** Subject to the Contract