Motorcycling-MotoGP to host races in India, Kazakhstan next year in 21-race calendar

FILE PHOTO: Suzuki Moto GP rider Aleix Espargaro take a curve followed by Yamaha Moto GP rider Loris Baz of France during the qualifying session of the Catalunya Grand Prix at the Barcelona-Catalunya circuit, in Montmelo near Barcelona, Spain, June 13, 2015. Espargaro broke the lap record to take pole position at the Catalunya Grand Prix with Maverick Vinales behind him on Saturday in a surprise Suzuki pairing at the front of the MotoGP grid. REUTERS/Gustau Nacarino/ File Photo

(Reuters) -MotoGP will make its debut in India and Kazakhstan in 2023 on a calendar which boasts more races and countries than ever before, it announced on Friday.

The 2023 season will begin with the Portuguese GP on March 24-26 and wrap up in Valencia on Nov. 24-26, according to the 21-race provisional calendar released by MotoGP.

Kazakhstan will become the 30th country to host a motorcycle grand prix since 1949 when the race takes place on July 7-9 at the Sokol International Racetrack in the northwest of Almaty.

The Indian GP will be held at the Buddh International Circuit in New Delhi from Sept. 22-24, while Le Mans will host the 1000th Grand Prix at the French GP on May 12-14.

"India is also a key market for the motorcycle industry and therefore, by extension, for MotoGP as the pinnacle of the two-wheeled world," Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of commercial rights holders Dorna Sports, said in a statement on Friday.

The 5.14km track on the outskirts of New Delhi held Formula One races between 2011-13 before it was dropped from the calendar.

The Kazakhstan and Indian grands prix are subject to contract and certification, MotoGP said.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair and Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford and Toby Davis)

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