Against the wishes of world champion Valentino Rossi, and other leading riders, the MotoGP calendar looks set to expand to 18 events next season.

Rossi and many of his rivals have expressed concern that the current 17 race format doesn't allow enough time to recover from injury - due to the number of back-to-back races - resulting in riders having to either continue racing or miss an event and severely damage their world championship hopes.

Most choose to ride on and the likes of Rossi, Loris Capirossi and Marco Melandri have all raced whilst significantly injured so far this season. "This time it is me that is hurt but next time it could be someone else and the riders are not happy," said Capirossi at the time of his injury. "We need more time between races... crashes happen, it's no problem - but the problem is that I've carried the injuries for two more races because it's Barcelona then Assen then Donington in three weeks."

However, with a new San Marino Grand Prix at Misano joining the circuit line-up next year - and no existing event removed - the provisional 2007 calendar has indeed been increased to 18 events.

"18 races is too much," stated Rossi in early July, when asked about the possibility of the calendar expanding. "When we first spoke with Carmelo (Ezpeleta - Dorna) about the arrival of Misano, he said that one race will be cancelled - so it will remain 17 - but at the moment the situation is not so definite.

"I hope it will remain 17, because already 17 is too much, especially as now we have a lot of testing on Mondays and sometimes Tuesdays after the races. It's better to have a short rest between the races and not to have races in a row - and this year we have lots of races in a row. But we speak for the future and for sure I hope it will remain 17 races..."

Ironically, it is Rossi's massive popularity which has no doubt contributed to his home nation hosting a second MotoGP event.

Other more minor changes are a planned start to the season in Qatar, with the 2006 season-opening Spanish Grand Prix moved to round two status a week later. A near month long break then follows before round three in China.

As is now traditional, the season is due to end at Valencia, Spain, on November 4.

Provisional 2007 MotoGP calendar

March 17**QatarDoha/Losail
March 25SpainJerez de la Frontera
April 22ChinaShanghai
May 6TurkeyIstanbul
May 20France Le Mans
June 3ItalyMugello
June 10CatalunyaCatalunya
June 24Great BritainDonington Park
June 30 **NetherlandsAssen
July 15Germany Sachsenring
July 22United States * Laguna Seca
August 19Czech RepublicBrno
September 2San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Misano
September 23JapanMotegi
October 7AustraliaPhillip Island
October 14MalaysiaSepang
October 28PortugalEstoril
November 4ValenciaRicardo Tormo - Valencia

* Only MotoGP class
** Saturday race

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