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MotoGP Grand Prix 2019 Season Schedule, Start Times, Locations and More

Rory Marsden@@roomarsdenFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2019

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - FEBRUARY 07: Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team rounds the bend  during the MotoGP Tests In Sepang at Sepang Circuit on February 07, 2019 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

The 2019 MotoGP season kicks off next weekend with the Qatar Grand Prix at the Losail International Circuit.

The first of 19 races, Qatar will open proceedings before the action moves west for weekends in Argentina and the United States in March and April.

A long stint in Europe then follows, ahead of visits to Thailand, Japan, Australia and Malaysia before the closing race in Valencia, Spain, on November 17.

Three-time defending champion Marc Marquez is the favourite to take the title come the end of the season as he looks for a sixth career world championship.

However, there is plenty of competition for the Spaniard in the 2019 field, including new Repsol Honda team-mate Jorge Lorenzo, 2017 and 2018 runner-up Andrea Dovizioso, Yamaha's Maverick Vinales and, of course, veteran champion Valentino Rossi.

Here is the full schedule for the 2019 campaign:

MotoGP™🏁 @MotoGP

2019 #MotoGP Calendar confirmed ✅ Who's ready for some racing? 🙋‍♂️ https://t.co/ekWerVADSv

All race-day timings can be found at MotoGP.com.

                   

Marquez has hardly enjoyed a relaxing offseason. He underwent surgery on his left shoulder in December after a number of dislocations in the 2018 season.

Six weeks of recovery then ensued before the first pre-season test in Sepang, Malaysia, early in February.

After testing in Qatar last week, the 26-year-old said Honda were "on a good level to the fight for the podium" in the opening race of the season, per Jamie Klein of Motorsport.com.

DOHA, QATAR - FEBRUARY 24: Marc Marquez of Spain and Repsol Honda Team speaks with journalists in paddock during the MotoGP Tests - Day Two at Losail Circuit on February 24, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

That is unlikely to fool anyone. Shoulder injury or not, Marquez will be going for the win at Losail.

It is far from his most successful circuit. He has only won there once in MotoGP, in 2014.

Lorenzo, meanwhile, is a three-time MotoGP winner in Qatar. But he is highly unlikely to be in the hunt for the top of the podium in 2019 as he is yet to adapt fully to his new bike and is still recovering from a wrist injury.

Yamaha's Vinales was the fastest rider in testing and will be confident of battling for victory in Qatar.

DOHA, QATAR - FEBRUARY 25:  Maverick Vinales of Spain and Yamaha Factory Racing  heads down a straight during the MotoGP Tests - Day Three at Losail Circuit on February 25, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

It wouldn't be a huge surprise if the 24-year-old repeated his 2017 performance of winning the opening two races of the season.

The question will be whether he can maintain consistency throughout the season. If he can, Vinales will pose a serious threat to Marquez in the championship race.

His team-mate, Rossi, needs to find pace from somewhere fast if he is to compete in Qatar as he was not overly impressive in testing.

The seven-time MotoGP champion can never be written off, though. Even at 40 years old, he is sure to play his part throughout the 2019 season.

DOHA, QATAR - FEBRUARY 23: Andrea Dovizioso of Italy and Ducati Team starts from box during the MotoGP Tests - Day One at Losail Circuit on February 23, 2019 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)
Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images

Then there is Ducati's Dovizioso. The 32-year-old Italian is entering his 12th season in MotoGP, but he is running out of opportunities to win a world title.

He has shown in the last two seasons he is perhaps Marquez's main rival, but consistency will again be key if he is to finally overhaul the Spaniard.

Getting an early victory under his belt in Qatar would be huge for Dovizioso, and he must take full advantage if there is any indication that Marquez is not yet at 100 per cent following his surgery. 

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