MotoGP is set to visit 18 different countries next year with Kazakhstan and India the new additions, subject to homologation, while Aragon steps down to reduce the Spanish-based events to three (Italy is the other repeat visit). Finland remains absent.

That notably means ‘flyaway’ events, held outside Europe, will now comprise almost half (10) of the 21-round calendar: Argentina, America, Kazakhstan, India, Japan, Indonesia, Australia, Thailand, Malaysia and Qatar.

Once MotoGP leaves Misano on September 10, there won’t be another competitive lap in Europe until Friday practice for the Valencia finale on November 24.

MotoGP 2023 calendar: Provisional

Sepang shakedown test
February 5-7

Sepang test
February 10-12

Portimao test
March 11-12

Portuguese GP - Portimao
March 24-26

Argentina GP - Termas de Rio Hondo
March 31-April 2

Americas GP - Circuit of the Americas
April 14-16

Spanish GP - Jerez
April 28-30

Jerez test
May 1

French GP - Le Mans
May 12-14

Italian GP - Mugello
June 9-11

German GP - Sachsenring
June 16-18

Dutch GP - Assen
June 23-25

Kazakhstan GP - Sokol
July 7-9

British GP - Silverstone
August 4-6

Austrian GP - Red Bull Ring
August 18-20

Catalan GP - Barcelona
September 1-3

San Marino GP - Misano
September 8-10

Misano test
September 11

Indian GP - Buddh
September 22-24

Japanese GP - Motegi
September 29-October 1

Indonesian GP - Mandalika
October 13-15

Australian GP - Phillip Island
October 20-22

Thai GP - Chang
October 27-29

Malaysian GP - Sepang
November 10-12

Qatar GP - Lusail
November 17-19

Valencia GP - Ricardo Tormo
November 24-26

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Covid aside, MotoGP - like F1- has been gradually ‘rebalancing’ its calendars with most new events located outside Europe (KymiRing was to be the exception). Saudi Arabia is among the planned future destinations.

Such worldwide expansion offers the chance to present MotoGP in front of a new audience but also requires additional travel and logistical costs.

“Well, my wife will change the locks with this calendar and the new Kazakhstan and Indian races!” joked Alex Rins.

“But no, apart from the joke, it's nice to discover new places, new tracks. For sure if it will be harder because we will be away from home more, but it looks good.”

Jack Miller: ‘I like the look of it’

As one of the non-European riders, Jack Miller had to move halfway across the world to pursue his MotoGP dream.

The Australian also added that the season will begin later than usual and includes a ‘spring break’ of three weekends after Le Mans, in addition to the usual summer break from Kazakhstan on July 9 to Silverstone on August 4-6.

“We've got a big calendar on, but I like the look of it,” said Miller, who will switch from Ducati to KTM next season.

“One less race in Spain, two new countries. It's fantastic for the championship to be spreading out a little more, rather being solely Europe-based, I guess you could say. I like the idea of that, spreading it out. I like taking MotoGP all around the world. I think that's the goal and that's how it should be.

“The [schedule] itself looks good. The last race is at the end of November so we're stopping a little bit later, but it kicks off a little bit later [Portimao, March 24-26]. There are also two decent breaks in the middle, after Le Mans and before Silverstone. So the boys should be able to catch up at home.”Aprilia’s Maverick Vinales also understood the need to take MotoGP into new countries.

“I think it’s very important to go to new countries and improve the community of MotoGP. We must improve and grow. We must become the most important sport in the world.

“For me it’s great [because] of course I love racing. India is important for us, because I can see many fans for us in India, like Indonesia. It will improve MotoGP a lot. It’s good news for me.”

Miguel Oliveira said: “Very exciting to go to new places and it’s a step forward. We are getting more time out of Europe, especially at the end of the year, which will be a challenge.”

‘Tough and demanding’

Vinales’ team-mate and current title contender Aleix Espargaro, who at 33 will become the oldest full-time rider on the grid next season, labelled the future calendar as ‘tough and ‘demanding’.

The Spaniard highlighted that the last eight rounds will be take place in just ten weekends.

India-Japan will be back-to-back, followed by a weekend off. Then there will be an Indonesia-Australia-Thailand triple header followed by a weekend off, then another triple header of Malaysia-Qatar-Valencia.

“Very tough. It will be very demanding physically and mentally, with the sprint races and the new tracks,” Espargaro said. Especially in the last part of the year, it will be tough to do three consecutive races, twice, so far from home.

“I will try to organise as much as possible with my team and my family, maybe I will travel more with my kids. Let’s see how I will organise. I have the feeling that the last part will be very demanding for the riders and everybody in the paddock.”

From 20 to 42 MotoGP races ‘a big marathon’

The creation of the new Saturday afternoon Sprint means the number of MotoGP races next season will instantly more than double, from 20 to 42.

The Sprints will not technically be called grands prix and only half points will be awarded for the half-distance races.

But a MotoGP race is a MotoGP race in terms of physical and mental commitment. Not to mention risk, which some paddock members believe will be higher for the Sprints, due to the importance of being near the front on the opening lap.

“The new format gives us a little bit more stress and it will be funny to have many back-to-back races and the chance to score points twice in a weekend will affect everyone,” said Oliveira, who is switching from KTM to RNF Aprilia next season.

“The riders will need to look it as a big, big marathon and not stress too much [at each race]. It will take some time to adapt to it.”

“For me, 21 [rounds] is on the limit,” Rins said. When it was pointed out that it will also be 42 individual races, he added: “For sure it’s the limit, no more!”

Remy Gardner, leaving MotoGP at the end of his rookie season and joining WorldSBK next year, said: “I wish you guys the best of luck!”

Ara-gone: ‘Fabio will be happy!’

While the new events in Kazakhstan and India made headlines, they have come at the expense of Aragon, which has been part of the MotoGP calendar every year since 2010.

Aragon, like Barcelona and Valencia, had already agreed to alternate its MotoGP event (rather than continue hosting every year) with other Spanish rounds due to the impending calendar expansion.

That means Aragon could well be back for the 2024 season, having agreed to host ‘at least three races between 2022-2026’ including this September’s event.

Nonetheless, some riders will miss the annual Aragon race, with reigning champion Fabio Quartararo perhaps the notable exception.

“I hope we never go back again!” joked Quartararo, referring to his poor record and bad luck at the Aragon circuit, including this year’s opening-lap collision with Marc Marquez. “Now we will have a little bit more engine [for 2023] we will not go back!”

“It's a shame [to lose Aragon]… For sure Fabio will be happy!” smiled Rins. “But for us, it's a good place to ride. It's more of a home GP than Montmelo for example. But it is what it is, we will have to go there with the stock [road] bike to train!”

Ducati's title contender Francesco Bagnaia also has fond memories of Aragon, including his debut 2021 MotoGP victory over Marc Marquez and runner-up finish to Enea Bastianini this season.

“We won't go to Aragon, for me that's not so good,” Bagnaia said. “But in any case, we were already doing four races in Spain, so it's correct to leave space to another country.

“I'm quite looking forward to ride in India because it's a new track, I always like when we go to new tracks. For sure we will be away from home for a long-time next year.”