The Portuguese Grand Prix at the Algarve International Circuit will open the 2023 MotoGP season, marking the first time since 2006 a European event has kick-started the campaign.
Series organisers Dorna announced the news on Tuesday morning ahead of this weekend’s British GP at Silverstone, revealing the Portuguese test would take place across the 24th-26th March weekend.
The rest of the 2023 schedule will be revealed in “due course” according to the Spanish organisation, though it announced that Portimao would also hold at least one of the pre-season tests – the dates of which would be shared on a later occasion.
“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,” began Dorna’s 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 MotoGP calendar has been headed by Qatar since 2007, the nation also holding the final pre-season test ahead of the encounter – though this arrangement will likely be ended as a result of its replacement as season opener.
The last European MotoGP season opener was the Spanish GP at Jerez back in 2006, an event won by Ducati rider Loris Capirossi ahead of Honda duo Dani Pedrosa and the late Nicky Hayden.
The Portuguese round of the MotoGP calendar returned after an eight year break for the 2020 season at the Algarve facility, having previously been held at the historic Estoril circuit between 2000 and 2012.
Originally joining the schedule as the season closer in November, the race took place in April the following year as the third round of the 2021 series before later receiving a second date in November – as the Algarve GP – as a replacement for the cancelled Australian GP, before continuing its April slot for the last time this year.