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Kazakhstan MotoGP round postponed due to flooding

The inaugural Kazakhstan Grand Prix has been postponed from its June slot due to the ongoing flooding emergency in Central Asia, MotoGP has announced.

Kazakhstan track for 2023 MotoGP season

Photo by: MotoGP

Scheduled for 14-16 June, no new date has been given for the event but Dorna Sports hopes to still stage it this year.

MotoGP was originally set to race in Kazakhstan at the new Sokol International Racetrack, near the country’s largest city of Almaty, last year as part of an expanding calendar.

However, due to the circuit not being ready at the time for its 9 July slot, the event was axed and not replaced in 2023.

It was pencilled onto the 2024 calendar for the weekend of 14-16 June.

However, on Friday 3 May, MotoGP announced that the Kazakhstan GP has had to be postponed due to the flooding emergency that has impacted the region in recent weeks.

In what has been described as the worst flooding in the region in 80 years, the Ural river – as a result of rapidly melting snow and ice due to high temperatures, as well as heavy rain – burst its banks in April.

As of 1 May, however, over 40,000 displaced people have returned to their homes and clear-up efforts are ongoing – according to local media reports.

A statement from the FIM read: “Unprecedented weather conditions have led to flooding across Central Asia, causing a national emergency in Kazakhstan and displacing much of the population.

Kazakhstan track for 2023 MotoGP season

Kazakhstan track for 2023 MotoGP season

Photo by: MotoGP

“It would not be responsible for MotoGP to add any additional burden on the authorities or services as they work to help the tens of thousands of people affected across the country.

“Sokol International Racetrack will therefore not host MotoGP on the dates previously announced, and any further updates will be published once confirmed.

“As our utmost priority, MotoGP sends our condolences and support to the people of Kazakhstan and all those affected by the flooding in Central Asia. We hope the nation, region and communities affected can recover as soon as possible.”

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Despite uncertainty over the event taking place in 2024, in recent weeks the proposition of it happening looked much stronger in recent weeks, with a Dorna homologation inspection originally set to take place after the Catalan GP at the end of May.

Kazakhstan being removed from its original calendar spot does create two sizeable gaps for the series.

After the Italian GP at Mugello on 2 June, MotoGP won’t race again until the weekend of 28-30 June at the Dutch TT.

A week later the German GP at the Sachsenring will be held before MotoGP goes away for a three-week summer break before the British GP on 2-4 August.

As such, MotoGP is facing a schedule of just three rounds in nine weeks from the final weekend in June.

One other question mark on the 2024 MotoGP calendar is the future of the Indian GP, which was held for the first time last year.

At present, tickets have not gone on sale for the event – though it wasn’t until closer to the round that this happened last year.

MotoGP was already forced to cancel one race in 2024 as government spending cuts meant the Argentina GP in April couldn’t be staged.

MotoGP confirmed during the initial calendar announcement that Hungary’s Balaton Park would act as a reserve venue, subject to homologation.

However, with such a tight schedule in the second half of the year, it will be difficult for the series to either reschedule Kazakhstan or add a replacement.

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