March 7, 2019 / 7:56 PM / 13 days ago

Motorcycling: Qatar to host MotoGP until at least 2031

FILE PHOTO: MotoGP - Valencian Grand Prix - Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, Spain - November 18, 2018 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing's Pol Espargaro in action with Repsol Honda Team Marc Marquez during the race REUTERS/Heino Kalis/File Photo

(Reuters) - Qatar will continue to host a round of the MotoGP world championship until at least 2031 after agreeing a five-year extension to a contract that already ran to 2026, organisers said on Thursday.

The Gulf state hosts the opening round of the 2019 championship at the Losail circuit this weekend, with Spaniard Marc Marquez chasing his sixth crown in the top class with Honda.

Qatar made its debut on the calendar in 2004 and became the first night race under floodlights four years later. It remains the only round of the championship in the Middle East.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ed Osmond

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