The MotoGP season kicks off in Qatar - Photo Credit:

The MotoGP season kicks off in Qatar - Photo Credit:

Motorcycling governing body, the FIM has announced an 18-race schedule for the 2012 MotoGP World Championship and although on the face of it, much remains the same, there are a number of question marks hanging over next season.

Three races on the calendar are included on the basis that contractual issues are sorted which may prove particularly difficult in the case of the German Grand Prix. The Sachsenring, host of the event since 1998, announced earlier this week that they will no longer be a part of the championship, leaving the Nurburgring and the Lausitzring as the likely candidates to take over.

The races at Jerez and Estoril are also in doubt for contractual reasons and with the Portuguese race one of those to make a loss in recent years, its place on the schedule isn't certain by any means.

The annual night race at Qatar will kick off the season but MotoGP fans will have to wait an extra three weeks, with the curtain raiser not taking place until April 15th.

Silverstone holds on to its slot in the middle of June while the Japanese GP will take place in October once again, although this year's race was originally penned in for April. The Motegi round will form part of an Asia triple-header with Malaysia and Australia following back-to-back, a timetable that will test the teams to the limit.

In a much more sensible move, the two United States GPs will follow each other in the middle of summer, although Moto2 and Moto3 will not travel to Laguna Seca due to a lack of paddock space.

Looking further ahead, Argentina will return to the calendar in 2013 after Dorna announced a three year deal the race to be run at the Autódromo Termas de Río Hondo in the Santiago del Estero province.


Provisional 2012 MotoGP Calendar

1 April 15th Qatar* Doha/Losail
2 April 29th Spain (STC) Jerez de la Frontera
3 May 6th Portugal (STC) Estoril
4 May 20th France Le Mans
5 June 3rd Catalunya Catalunya
6 June 17th Great Britain Silverstone
7 June 30th Netherlands** Assen
8 July 8th Germany (STC) TBC
9 July 15th Italy Mugello
10 July 29th United States*** Laguna Seca
11 August 19th Indianapolis Indianapolis Motor Speedway
12 August 26th Czech Republic Brno
13 September 16th San Marino & Riviera di Rimini Misano
14 September 30th Aragon Motorland Aragon
15 October 14th Japan Motegi
16 October 21st Malaysia Sepang
17 October 28th Australia Phillip Island
18 November 11th Valencia Ricardo Tormo – Valencia


*Night Race


***MotoGP only

STC – Subject to Contract