Alex Rins won't be surprised if, just as last year, the MotoGP season begins in Europe.

Currently, the official 2021 track action is due to get underway with testing in Qatar in early March, followed by back-to-back opening rounds at the same Losail circuit on March 28 and April 4.

The revised line-up then plans for Portimao on April 18 and Jerez (scene of last year's opening round) on May 2.

But ongoing Covid restrictions have already caused the cancellation of this year's Sepang tests, plus postponement of the Argentine and American rounds, and Rins wouldn't be surprised if Portimao or even Jerez becomes the eventual 2021 season-opener.

"We don't know exactly where we are going to start, looks like in Jerez, but let's see," Rins said. "For sure it will be another strange season."

"I'm waiting for the first test in Qatar," said Rins. "Unfortunately, we couldn't go to Malaysia, I was super excited to ride there because we missed the race last year as well.

"But if we don't make [the Qatar races], Portimao is the next one after Qatar," he added.

Since the Spaniard is currently training at the Portuguese circuit on a GSX-R1000 road bike, might he have a slight advantage if it becomes round one?

"I don't think so because it's completely different to ride with the stock bike and the MotoGP bike. I've tried a lot of bikes, like motocross, dirt track, Supermoto, the minibike, also I bought a new toy this winter, a go kart," said Rins.

"For me the most similar thing to MotoGP, but still different, is the stock bike. So we are riding here to feel again that adrenaline at 300km/h, well 299 because the standard dashboard doesn't allow more! But I don’t think it's an advantage.

"Last year I was riding a full standard bike with the lights, with the rear seat also. Now we've dressed our 'Susie," he said of the new black and red colours (below). "It looks nicer now. I’m with Albert Arenas here now and there are more riders coming [rumoured to include Valentino Rossi and the VR46 Academy riders] to train a little bit."

The triple MotoGP race winner - who fought back from a shoulder injury to finish third in last year's title chase, won by team-mate Joan Mir - also accepts that the new season is likely to start behind closed doors and in front of empty grandstands.

"In the end, we need to race," Rins said. "Last year went well with all the [safety] parameters. It will be very sad to have nobody here, but it’s like this."

Qatar is presently the only circuit due to hold back-to-back events in 2021, but if overseas races again prove impossible some or all of last year's European back-to-backs (Jerez, Red Bull Ring, Misano, Aragon and Valencia) are likely to return in order to pad out the calendar.

The advantage this year is that, even if the racing season is delayed until the present Jerez date (May 2), the championship would still be starting over two months earlier than in 2020 - allowing room to fit in more races.

Provisional 2021 MotoGP Calendar – January Update

Round

Date

Race

Circuit

1

28 March

Qatar (Evening race)

Losail

2

4 April

Doha (Evening race)

Losail

3

18 April

Portugal

Portimao

4

2 May

Spain

Jerez

5

16 May

France

Le Mans

6

30 May

Italy

Mugello

7

6 June

Catalunya

Barcelona

8

20 June

Germany

Sachsenring

9

27 June

Netherlands

Assen

10

11 July

Finland (Subject to homologation)

KymiRing

11

15 August

Austria

Red Bull Ring

12

29 August

Great Britain

Silverstone

13

12 September

Aragon

Aragon

14

19 September

San Marino e Della Riviera di Rimini

Misano

15

3 October

Japan

Motegi

16

10 October

Thailand

Buriram

17

24 October

Australia

Phillip Island

18

31 October

Malaysia

Sepang

19

14 November

Comunitat Valenciana

Ricardo Tormo

Postponed Grands Prix:
 11 AprilArgentinaTermas
 18 AprilAmericasCOTA
Reserve Grand Prix Venues:
  Indonesia (Subject to homologation)Mandalika
  RussiaIgora Drive
2021 Pre-season Testing:
 5 MarchQatar Shakedown TestLosail
 6-7 MarchQatar Official TestLosail
 10-12 MarchQatar Official TestLosail
 

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