The 2023 MotoGP season will be underway with the Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Circuit, marking the first European venue to host a season opener since 2006.
The announcement was revealed by the series’ organizers Dorna on Tuesday morning, just in time for this weekend’s British Grand Prix at Silverstone. The Portuguese test will be held from March 24 through 26.
The Spanish organization also stated that the remainder of the 2023 schedule would be unveiled in “due course,” but it also stated that Portimao would host at least one of the preseason tests; the dates for which would be given at a later time.
“The Portuguese Grand Prix will be the first event of the 2023 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship, with the stunning Autodromo Internacional do Algarve set to host the season opener from the 24th to the 26th of March 2023,” Dorna confirmed in a statement. “The full, provisional 2023 MotoGP™ calendar will be published by the FIM in due course, but the first event can already be confirmed.”
“The 2023 Portuguese GP will mark the first time the MotoGP™ calendar has begun in Europe since 2006 and will be only the third season opener held in Europe in more than three decades.
“It will also be the first time Portugal has ever hosted the first race of the year, with expectation ahead of the new season set to hit full speed on the Algarve as the grid debut with their new colours and machinery, and the first trophies of the season are awarded.”
“There will also be official pre-season tests held at Portimão during the weeks before the event, the dates of which will be confirmed soon.”
The location replaces Losail in Qatar, which has held the season-opening MotoGP race since 2007. However, due to Covid regulations, the premier-class was not allowed to compete at the venue in 2020.
Due to “major restoration and remodelling to the paddock area and circuit amenities,” Qatar withdrew from the highly sought-after slot as the season’s first race, forcing the MotoGP’s first night race to be staged later in the 2023 season.
The 2006 Spanish GP at Jerez, which was won by Ducati rider Loris Capirossi ahead of Honda duo Dani Pedrosa and the late Nicky Hayden, served as the previous European MotoGP season opener.
After an eight-year hiatus, the Portuguese round of the MotoGP calendar returned for the 2020 campaign at the Algarve venue. It had previously been held at the storied Estoril track between 2000 and 2012.
The race was first added to the calendar as the season’s finale in November. It then took place in April of the following year as the third round of the 2021 series before being given a second date in November as the Algarve GP to fill in for the cancelled Australian GP.