The 2013 MotoGP schedule has been trimmed to 18 events and will start a week later than planned after the proposed Grand Prix of Argentina was canceled Nov. 23 due to political upheaval in the South American nation.
Racing will start under the lights at the Grand Prix of Qatar on April 7 instead of March 31 as published on the provisional FIM schedule released in September. The Grand Prix of Argentina was supposed to take place April 14 at the new Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
But a sticky political situation involving the Argentine government and Repsol, one of the biggest sponsors in MotoGP, forced the race to be called off. The Spanish government recommended earlier this year that no employees of Repsol travel to Argentina for safety reasons because Argentina's government nationalized Repsol YPF, the Argentine subsidiary of the Spanish petroleum giant.
Dorna and FIM officials visited the track last week to check on its construction status, but the Spanish government didn't see enough progress in the political situation to change its recommendation that Repsol employees stay home.
Officials from the circuit, Dorna and the FIM stated their intent to conduct a MotoGP race at the new track in 2014. But this situation appears to be out of their hands, putting the future of MotoGP in doubt until real international politics and diplomacy - not typical paddock backstabbing and hospitality-tent deals - can enact a change.
The rest of the 2013 schedule remains unchanged. The second round of the season, scheduled for April 21, will be the inaugural MotoGP event at the new Circuit of the Americas near Austin, Texas. That track opened recently to rave reviews for the United States Grand Prix Formula One race.