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Exclusive: MotoGP looking at Kazakhstan alternatives as Qatar contingency faces hurdles

MotoGP looking at second alternative to potentially cancelled Kazakhstan GP

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racingleads start

Jorge Martin, Pramac Racingleads start

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

With the Kazakhstan GP expected to be cancelled and the plan to replace it with a second Qatar race now facing problems, MotoGP is looking at other options.

A second event in Qatar seemed the most feasible option, but a series of obstacles have prompted series organiser Dorna Sports to look for alternatives.

The event, which was due to debut at the Sokol circuit in April 2023 and had to be cancelled at that time due to unfinished construction work on the facilities, will not be able to take place this year either.

The Kazakh race was put back on the 2024 programme, initially for July, before Dorna reported its postponement due to a flooding emergency in the region.

Shortly afterwards, confirmation that the Indian Grand Prix in September would be suspended until 2025 prompted organisers to relocate the event to Kazakhstan for that weekend (20-22 September).

But, once again, it seems that the race will not materialise this time either.

Dorna's events department is now working against the clock to find a replacement, with the intention of maintaining a 20-race calendar.

Kazakhstan track for 2023 MotoGP season

Kazakhstan track for 2023 MotoGP season

Photo by: MotoGP

With the cancellations of Argentina and India, a third cancellation would reduce the schedule to just 19 dates, three fewer than the 22 originally scheduled.

Ties with the TV rights holders, among other obligations, are pushing Dorna to keep the schedule to at least 20 rounds, which will not be easy.

From the offices of the championship promoter, a number of options are being considered.

A repeat visit to Qatar, which opened the season at the beginning of March, was the first to be considered. So much so because of Dorna's excellent relationship with the Losail circuit, which made its debut on the calendar in 2004.

However, this route has thrown up a series of drawbacks which now make it very difficult for it to happen.

The first is that no agreement seems to have been reached with the venue and local promoters, despite the horizon being clear until the last weekend in November - the date scheduled for Qatar to host the Formula 1 Grand Prix.

The other, pointed out by most teams, is the heat in mid-September, with temperatures averaging 29ºC minimum to 39ºC maximum.

Brno has emerged as an option

Brno has emerged as an option

Photo by: Gold and Goose / Motorsport Images

Autosport understands that several riders were asked about this possibility and concluded that it would be very difficult to race there. If they were to do so, it would be at night.

With these conditions, Dorna executives are currently assessing other possible alternative destinations.

One that has reached the teams' ears is, surprisingly, Brno, which hosted the Czech Grand Prix until 2021, when disagreements between the owners and the organisation became insurmountable.

One of the most controversial aspects that makes it more difficult to return to the Czech circuit is the precarious state of the asphalt, which has been criticised by all the riders in the past.

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It remains to be seen whether the recent change of ownership to Shakai, who bought the complex from the Abraham family, can facilitate Brno's return to MotoGP.

In any case, it will not be easy for the world championship to return there, given that a week after the gap to be filled (20-22 September), the Indonesian Grand Prix is scheduled to take place in Lombok from 27-29 September.

If the replacement for Kazakhstan were to be a European circuit, this would make the logistics very difficult.

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