Sept 21 (Reuters) - Spain will again host four rounds of an expanded MotoGP world championship next year despite the economic crisis gripping the country.
Motorcycling’s governing body (FIM) on Friday published a provisional 19-race calendar, one more than last year, with races pencilled in for the Jerez, Barcelona, Valencia and Motorland Aragon circuits.
Jerez’s race is subject to contract, however.
Portugal, which held a grand prix in Estoril in May, did not feature on the calendar which has two slots in April yet to be confirmed after the opening night race under floodlights in Qatar on March 31.
The opener will be a week earlier than this year.
Argentina and a new circuit in Austin, Texas, could fill the unconfirmed slots while India’s new Buddh Formula One circuit has also been mooted as a possibility.
The British Grand Prix at Silverstone moves from June to Sept. 1.
Italy will have two races, one of them the San Marino Grand Prix at the Marco Simoncelli Misano circuit recently renamed after the grand prix rider who was killed in a crash in Malaysia last year.
The season will end at Valencia’s Ricardo Tormo circuit on Nov 10.
Valencia also hosted a Formula One race this year, in the port area of the Mediterranean city, but is due to be absent from next year’s F1 calendar as part of an alternation with Barcelona.
Cash-strapped local administrations in Spain are under pressure to make budget cuts as part of a central government austerity drive.
Spanish-based promoters Dorna hold the commercial rights to MotoGP and the sport is hugely popular in the country with Spanish riders well placed in the battle for all three world championships this season.
Provisional 2013 calendar:
March 31 - Qatar (Doha)*
April 14 - To be confirmed
April 21 - TBC
May 5 - Spain (Jerez) Subject to contract
May 19 - France (Le Mans)
June 2 - Italy (Mugello)
June 16 - Catalunya (Barcelona)
June 29 - Netherlands (Assen)**
July 14 - Germany (Sachsenring)
July 21 - United States (Laguna Seca)***
Aug 18 - Indianapolis
Aug 25 - Czech Republic (Brno)
Sept 1 - Britain (Silverstone)
Sept 15 - San Marino (Marco Simoncelli Misano)
Sept 29 - Aragon (Motorland)
Oct 13 - Malaysia (Sepang)
Oct 20 - Australia (Phillip Island)
Oct 27 - Japan (Motegi)
Nov 10 - Valencia (Ricardo Tormo)
** Saturday Race
***Only MotoGP (Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London; Editing by Clare Fallon)