Coronavirus Causes Shakeup in MotoGP Calendar

Coronavirus Causes Shakeup in MotoGP Calendar
Honda's Marc Marquez, the reigning MotoGP Champion

The coronavirus has caused a shakeup in the 2020 MotoGP calendar.

Dorna, the governing body of MotoGP, announced Sunday that the MotoGP class will not compete at the season opener in Qatar. As of this writing, the Moto2 and Moto3 classes will race as scheduled.

The Thailand Grand Prix was also postponed due to travel restrictions attributed to coronavirus.

The reason for the cancelation at Losail is due to travel restrictions that are affecting Italy.

Coronavirus Causes Shakeup in MotoGP Calendar
Honda’s Marc Marquez, the reigning MotoGP Champion

Dorna says as of Sunday, all passengers arriving at Doha on direct flights from Italy, or having been in Italy in the past two weeks, will be taken straight to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

Italy plays a vital role in the Championship and in the MotoGP class – both on track and off – and therefore the decision has been taken to cancel the premier class competition.

As the teams and riders of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes were already in Qatar for the three-day official test at Losail International Circuit earlier this week, the races of both categories will be possible, MotoGP says

The lightweight and intermediate classes will compete in their season opener March 6-8. The same will apply to the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, which will have two races during the Qatar Grand Prix as originally planned.

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said: “We have been in close contact with the authorities in Qatar to understand exactly what we could do. Then during the weekend, the situation changed a lot.

“On Saturday and Sunday it wasn’t a specific problem for anyone, but later on on Sunday we received indication from the authorities in Qatar that due to the situation in Italy and around the world, everyone of Italian nationality or residents of Italy arriving from there needs to be sure they haven’t been in Italy during the last 14 days.

“In those cases, it’s not that entrance to Qatar is forbidden, but anyone who has been in Italy in the last 14 days is advised that they will be quarantined for 14 days in Qatar. Obviously that’s not possible for our people, and this was what led us to cancel the MotoGP category at the Grand Prix of Qatar. Because Moto2 and Moto3 have been testing this week in Qatar, it’s possible to continue with the Championship but only with Moto2 and Moto3, as well as the Asia Talent Cup.

“We have been speaking to the authorities in Thailand all weekend and they advised us that early on Monday, Thailand time, there would be a meeting to decide which events can happen in Thailand. It’s not related to Italians or anyone of any other nationality going to Thailand, it’s that they have decided to cancel big events with large numbers of spectators. It’s different to the situation with Qatar, so we decided to postpone the Thailand Grand Prix and try to locate a date at the end of the year to make the GP possible.

“There will absolutely be a 2020 MotoGP season. We will try to continue with everything and stay aware of the situation because it’s changing day by day, but our wish is to do all the races in the 2020 season.”

For more, visit our MotoGP page.