MotoGP is no longer on course to have its longest-ever season in 2023, following its announcement that the inaugural Kazakhstan Grand Prix has been called off.
A new venue, the Hermann Tilke-designed Sokol International, was due to host the ninth round of the campaign this year on July 7-9 as part of a five-year deal.
But doubts have long persisted over the viability of the race for 2023, and MotoGP has now announced its cancellation due to “ongoing homologation works at the circuit, paired with current global operational challenges”.
The series says it intends to debut in Kazakhstan in 2024 instead in Sokol, located 76km off Kazakhstan’s largest city Almaty.
While there have also been questions about the state of the 2023 season’s other planned new race, the Indian Grand Prix at ex-Formula 1 venue Buddh, assuming that goes ahead the MotoGP campaign will span 20 weekends, albeit 40 races thanks to the introduction of the Saturday sprint.
And with Kazakhstan not replaced, its cancellation has established what is now a five-weekend summer break.
Simon Patterson says
The news will be greeted without too much sadness within the MotoGP paddock, with the lack of infrastructure near the Sokol circuit causing considerable consternation in recent weeks.
Located almost an hour and a half’s drive away from the nearest local hotels in the country’s second biggest city of Almaty, few were looking forward to the three-hour round trip commute every day and, coupled with the now-extended five-week summer break, it eases some of the pressure ahead of what will be a frantic end to the season with seven races in 10 weeks once the action resumes.