By Shane McGinley
Gulf state will host season opener for fifth year running at Doha's $58m Losail Circuit
The MotoGP world championship will start in Qatar next April, the International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has said.
The eighteen date championship is set to begin in the Gulf state on April 15 and end at Spain’s Valencia circuit, the series organisers confirmed on Wednesday.
The event, which will be hosted at the $58m Losail Circuit, will mark the fifth consecutive year that Qatar has hosted the season opener for the motorcycling championships.
Races at Jerez in Spain, Estoril in Portugal and Germany are still 'subject to contract', the FIM said. The organisers also said Argentina will return to the MotoGP calendar from 2013, with a race at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.
Qatar’s vast natural gas reserves have transformed the Gulf state into an economic powerhouse and the world’s richest country per-capita and driven its bold ambitions. Qatar hopes to become a regional hub for large scale sporting events.
In December it won the rights to host the 2022 World Cup and last month officially launched a bid to host the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics.
It has also submitted a bid for the 2017 World Athletic Championships.