There is nothing worse than spoiled plans, whether they are plans to go out for the evening, a concert, or a trip around the world. The worst kinds of spoiled plans, however must be for those travelling to any GP this season. COVID-19 which also goes by the name Coronavirus has shown up at a seemingly perfect time to destroy the beginning of the 2020 Moto GP season by causing the cancellation of the Qatar GP and postponement of the GP in Thailand.
Although the virus had shown up in early February in Wuhan China, the rate at which the virus spreads has created a frenzy for all international sports, including MotoGP.
With the rapid advance of cases in Northern Italy, Qatar, the country hosting the initial race of the season imposed a 14-day quarantine on any individual travelling to the country from Italy. This action forced Dorna, the parent company of MotoGP, to cancel the Qatar Grand Prix, or at least some of it. Much of the teams and organizations staff reside in Italy including riders like Andrea Dovizioso and Valentino Rossi so it would be impossible to host the premier class race.
Riders and teams from the Moto2 and Moto3 sister race organizations had already been in Qatar for a weekend test and aren’t required to be quarantined. Therefore Moto2 and Moto3 races will still take place this Sunday March 8th, and there will be at least some relief for race starved fans across the globe.
Adding to the already difficult beginning to the season, Dorna also announced last weekend that the Thailand Grand Prix will be postponed. Provisional calendars indicate that Dorna may move the Thailand GP to October pushing the Aragon GP in Spain forward a week, but the unpredictability of this virus and it’s impact mean that everything this season will be subject to change.
With the Qatar GP cancelled and the Thailand GP postponed, the first race would be at the Circuit of the Americas (COTA) in Austin Texas on April 5th. There have been at least 6 confirmed deaths due to COVID-19 in the US and at least 10 confirmed cases of the virus. There aren’t currently any restrictions preventing Dorna from holding the race at COTA, but this is subject to change depending on impacts of COVID-19 on US soil. There have been rumors of rescheduling, or even cancelling the GP in Austin, so if you haven’t already purchased a flight or tickets, it would be best to hold off.
The Federation of International Motorcycling (FIM) which is the governing body for international motorcycle racing indicates that in order to hold a World Championship, Dorna and MotoGP will have to complete at least 13 races. Hopefully this virus won’t spoil the entire season, as well as any travel plans to go view races.