MotoGP announce 18-race 2012 season beginning in Qatar

Kenny Roberts Jr
Kenny Roberts Jr won the last Argentina MotoGP in 1999

The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has announced the provisional race calendar for 2012.

As in 2011, the season will have 18 rounds beginning in Qatar and ending in Valencia, Spain.

Races at Jerez in Spain, Estoril in Portugal and Germany are still 'subject to contract'.

The German venue is also unconfirmed, although Lausitzring in Brandenburg or the Nurburgring could replace 2011's Sachsenring location.

The two rounds in the United States at Laguna Seca and Indianapolis will take place back-to-back at the end of July and midway through August.

The FIM also announced that Argentina will return to the MotoGP calendar from 2013, with a race at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit.

The South American country last hosted a motorcycle grand prix in Buenos Aires in 1999, with the top 500cc race won by American Kenny Roberts Junior.

The three-year contract was signed in Paris in the presence of Argentine president Cristina Fernandez.

It was subject to necessary renovations being carried out to bring the circuit up to safety standards.