MotoGP 2021 Calendar: Austin And Argentina Dropped, Portimao And Qatar Double Header Inserted

The Covid-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the MotoGP calendar. The second and third rounds of MotoGP, at Termas de Rio Hondo in Argentina on April 11th and at the Circuit Of The Americas on April 18th have been officially postponed. In their place, Qatar will host back-to-back races at the Losail International Circuit on March 28th and April 4th, and reserve circuit Autódromo do Algarve at Portimao will host a race on April 18th.

Though officially only postoponed, the Argentina and Austin rounds are almost certain to be canceled, a move which had long been expected. The logistical and cost challenges of organizing races in the Americas, added to the spread of Covid-19, especially in the Austin area, were always going to pose problems for the two races, and it had long been rumored they would be replaced.

Replacing the Americas rounds with races in Qatar and Portimao is also a no-brainer. Qatar is rushing ahead with a vaccination program, and has had the virus under control since the first wave of the pandemic ended in August. And Portimao already has experience of organizing a MotoGP round under Covid-19 conditions, having hosted the 2020 season finale in November last year.

So far, only the first three rounds have been affected. After Portimao, the calendar will continue as scheduled at Jerez on May 2nd. Dorna hopes to be able to keep to the European leg of the schedule, though that is still dependent on how the Covid-19 pandemic develops.

There may be racing, but fans are extremely unlikely to be allowed to attend for a while. That may not pose a problem for tracks like Qatar or Jerez, where the event is heavily subsidized by either circuit owners or regional governments. But for tracks later in the season, where promoters hold the financial risk, that may make holding events behind closed doors not economically viable.

One interesting development in the FIM press release issued announcing the revised calendar. In the calendar announced in November 2020, the FIM listed 3 reserve circuits: Portimao, the new Mandalika Resort circuit in Indonesia, and the Igora Drive circuit near Moscow in Russia. The Russian circuit has now been dropped from the list of reserve circuits, leaving only Mandalika. That circuit is expected to be on standby should one of the Pacific flyaways be canceled, with doubts still surrounding Phillip Island in October.

The disappearance of Igora Drive from the list of reserve circuits could also be related to the fate of Brno. The Automotodrom Brno is not currently listed on the provisional calendar, and will only reappear if the circuit is resurfaced, a demand made by the MotoGP riders in the Safety Commission. Brno has not committed to resurfacing, however, and if it does not, then there is a good chance that the Moscow circuit will take the place of Brno on the calendar. The timing is likely to be earlier, however, with logistics making it easier to travel from the Kymiring in Finland to Moscow before the summer break rather than after it.

At the moment, however, the FIM calendar does not have a slot for a Brno/Russia round. There is a note that there will be a maximum of 20 races in 2021. And the current calendar has 19 races scheduled.

The provisional calendar appears below:

Date Grand prix Circuit
28 March Qatar* Losail International Circuit
4 April Qatar* Losail International Circuit
18 April Portugal Algarve International Circuit
02 May Spain Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto
16 May France Le Mans
30 May Italy Autodromo del Mugello
06 June Catalunya Barcelona - Catalunya
20 June Netherlands TT Circuit Assen
27 June Germany Sachsenring
11 July Finland** KymiRing
15 August Austria Red Bull Ring-Spielberg
29 August Great Britain Silverstone
12 September Aragón MotorLand Aragón
19 September San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
03 October Japan Twin Ring Motegi
10 October Thailand Chang International Circuit
24 October Australia Philip Island
31 October Malaysia Sepang International Circuit
14 November Comunitat Valenciana Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo

Postponed Grands Prix to be rescheduled subject to the pandemic:

  • República Argentina - Termas de Río Hondo
  • Americas - Circuit of the Americas

Reserve Grand Prix Venues:

  • Indonesia** -  Mandalika International Street Circuit

* Evening Race
** Subject to Homologation
There will be a maximum of 20 events in the 2021 season. All dates, events and the attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the pandemic and the approval of the corresponding Governments and authorities.


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Seems to be a reasonable compromise. Rather bad news for our American friends.

As a motorcycle nutter from downunder I'm pleased that Phillip island remains on the calendar. MotoGp may not get to P.I. in late October. Australia is doing OK right now. Looks like all interstate borders will be open soon.

But the Australian open tennis currently is demonstrating that international travel for sports stars is problematic. Compulsory quarantine and no practice, restrictions on training, gym access etc. Some visiting players have tested positive. Our governments are reluctant to make decisions and fear unpopular outcomes.

No vaccinations here yet.

Good luck Europe! Fifteen or so rounds in Europe would make a championship. That'll do me.

World superbike at P.I. last year is a distant memory. Fingers crossed for now.

You never know, with the vaccination campaign getting underway across Europe and the US by the time October rolls around travel to Aus might not be an issue for the Moto GP paddock anymore.

In the mean time, if you feel down at any point, just remember how jealous us Europeans are of you Aussies right now, having a government that can cope with a massive global crisis and all.

Everything is relative, but Igora Drive is not very near to Moscow, about 800 kms.

The "fly away" dates sure seem optimistic even given that they are 9 months away. Seems like a stretch right now.

Sadly this includes P.I. which IMHO is the best circuit on the annual schedule. I would be pleasantly surprised if any MotoGP races happen outside Europe in '21.

World superbike still have Termas on the calendar. I applaud their optimism! Whether SBK goes to Argentina in October remains to be seen.

It's a real riders track. Would be good to have some racing action and international focus on Argentina. It's a long, long trip from Europe.

Like MotoGp the flyaway rounds seem unlikely right now. But...Phillip island MotoGp and SBK close together at the end of 2021 is a nice dream.

We'll see

Since they can't come to Austin? After all we are having Supercross races plus all the other major sports events around the US without any major issues... 

In the case of Austin, since Texas currently has the 2nd highest infection rate in the country, it wouldn't surprise me if Dorna were worried about the paddock becoming infected from the sourrounding area, as opposed to Texas being worried about MotoGP importing the virus from outside the USA.

You probably should had mentioned that rate the last 2 weeks has dropped by 20%, and of course the rate has a direct realationship with how many people actually are getting tested, something Texas is very good at. 

Many people from many countries are directly involved on site with a motogp event.  Each nation's travel restrictions are (and are likely to remain) in flux and present significant potential for tossing, as they say in England, a spanner in the works.  And the USA presently has, by an absolutely massive margin, the highest number of COVID19 cases (25M) and deaths (420K) (and Texas is number 3 among the states) which I suspect makes the rest of the world hesitant to commit to a visit and then return home.

You probably should had mentioned that the Illmore has dropped by 20% it's gap to the WCM at the back of the grid on one lap during testing, and of course the rate has a direct realationship with how many laps are getting timed, something Illmore is very good at. That bike is making racing great again, nothing else you read is true. The 5 Cyl Honda engine is a hoax, I saw for real evidence researching for myself on the inturnet. (Please forgive me. I TRIED to make me not type this and failed)

Hopefully you realize TX is the second largest state in country? 

Well done, Dieterly!

You sucked in these commenters completely. I knew you were being ironic as soon as I read without any major issues... 

They also failed to pick up your excellent imitation of your ex-president's tweeting style.

Forgive me if you planned to keep it going for a while yet.

Unless something changes rapidly in the Australian governments way of dealing with travellers and their 2 weeks quarantine on arrival, the tennis players have kicked off. Can't see it happening. Looks like a general election will be being held around then too, which will not benefit travellers either. Politicians lining up to be "stronger" on Covid.

It's a definite no from my hot and sandy corner of Western Australia