First two MotoGP rounds axed in latest coronavirus race cancellations

MotoGP

MotoGP’s 2020 season-opening races in Qatar and Thailand have been cancelled over coronavirus restrictions

Qatar testing

MotoGp testing in Qatar last week

Red Bull

The first two races of the MotoGP season have been cancelled due to coronavirus measures, pushing back the start of the season by a month.

The season-opening race was scheduled to take place this coming weekend in Qatar, but new restrictions on Italian visitors would have forced Aprilia and Ducati team members to spend 14 days in quarantine on arrival in the country.

The MotoGP race was cancelled on Sunday, and this was followed by an announcement from Thailand that the second race, scheduled for March 22, would be postponed indefinitely.

This weekend’s Moto2 and Moto3 races will still be held, as team personnel are already in Qatar after last week’s test session. MotoGP teams had returned home following an earlier test in Qatar.

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The cancellations currently leave the Circuit of the Americas hosting the first round of this season on April 5.

“The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has resulted in Qatar travel restrictions being brought into force that affect passengers from Italy, amongst other countries,” read a statement from MotoGP’s governing body, the FIM; the commercial rights holders Dorna; and IRTA, the teams’ association.

“As of today, all passengers arriving at Doha on direct flights from Italy, or having been in Italy in the past 2 weeks, will be taken straight to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.

“Italy clearly 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 premier class competition.”

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Anutin Charnvirakul, told Reuters: “The MotoGP … has to be cancelled and postponed to another day and another month depending on the situation,”

The decisions follow the postponement of the 2020 Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, and uncertainty over how this year’s racing calendars will be further affected as the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread.

A revised schedule for this weekend’s Losail circuit events will be published later in the week, with details of the Moto2, Moto3 and Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup sessions and races taking place.

This article has been updated following the cancellation of the Thailand Grand Prix; some comments below may refer to an earlier version. 

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