MotoGP: Coronavirus #COVID-19 outbreak disrupts season opener in Qatar and second round in Thailand
Monday, 02 March 2020
Due to Qatar travel restrictions brought into force affecting passengers from Italy, it‘s been decided by FIM, IRTA, and Dorna to cancel the MotoGP Class for this weekend‘s Qatar Grand Prix. The Moto2 and Moto3 sessions at Round 1 will continue as planned. Additionally, the Thai government has decided that the second GP to be held in Buriram (20–22 March) will be postponed for all MotoGP classes.
Yesterday it was announced that the ongoing coronavirus outbreak has resulted in Qatar travel restrictions being brought into force that affect passengers from Italy, amongst other countries. As of yesterday, 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.
Like many other parties active in the MotoGP paddock, the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team would be heavily affected by these travel restrictions, as its headquarters is based in Gerno di Lesmo, in Lombardy, Italy.
Though the team and its riders Maverick Viñales and Valentino Rossi are disappointed not to be able to open the 2020 MotoGP season this week at the Losail International Circuit, there’s a consensus that health and safety should come first.
The Moto2 and Moto3 sessions at the Qatar GP will continue as planned as the riders and teams were already at the Losail track for the Qatar Test held from 28 Feb – 1 Mar.
The ongoing outbreak of the coronavirus also has consequences for the second MotoGP round. The OR Thailand Grand Prix, originally planned for 20–22 March, has been postponed by the Thai government for all MotoGP classes. The FIM, IRTA, and Dorna are currently evaluating if an alternative date will be possible.
Valentino Rossi -It’s really bad news. Such a pity… After a winter spent training, we were ready to start the season, both physically and psychologically. After the test in Qatar I really wanted to start with the first race. The MotoGP class cancellation for Qatar is difficult news to take, also for the fans, because now we do not know how long we will have to wait before we can start racing. It is certainly a long time, considering the next GP in Thailand has been postponed for all classes. I hope everything will get better in the next weeks.