Coronavirus, sport and the motorbike industry: BMW pull out of Eicma and Intermot 2020

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The Coronavirus pandemic has already caused significant disruption to the motorbike industry in a number of ways, and the signs are that it’ll continue to do so for weeks to come. From postponed races to planned outages for productions lines, this is how Covid-19 is affecting bikes.

BMW have announced that they will not be participating in two of the world’s biggest motorcycle shows this year; Intermot and Eicma.

Intermot is due to take place in Cologne this October and Eicma in Milan this November. BMW are the first major manufacturer to announce that they are pulling out of the shows and said: "This decision was made in order to counteract current planning uncertainty at an early stage, also for all our partners involved in BMW Motorrad motorshow appearances, in the interests of the greatest possible security, predictability and transparency."

Any announcements planned for the events will now take place digitally through BMW’s social media channels in the Autumn.

Although BMW are the first, it is unlikely they will be the last manufacturer to pull out of the shows meaning they may not be able to go ahead even if Coronavirus is no longer a factor by then. The Paris Motor Show has already been cancelled altogether and the Tokyo and Geneva shows were unable to take place.

Major bike manufacturers halt production

KTM factory in Mattighofen, Austria

Late on Tuesday, March 24, it was announced that MV Agusta would be temporarily halting production as of March 26, in order to comply with more stringent guidelines set by the Italian government. All activities at the firm's Schiranna plant will be suspended until a production ban is lifted.

Speaking about the decision, MV Agusta CEO, Timur Sardarov, said: "The safety of our employees and the compliance with all Government provisions are our number one priority. We will do our part and fully collaborate with those who are presently working hard for the common good, scrupulously following their directions. We look to the future with confidence, ready for a new start once the emergency is over."

Elsewhere, an announcement by KTM, Husqvarna and GasGas’s parent company Pierer Mobility informed of a planned bike-building shutdown due to possible supply chain interruption from Northern Italy.

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Ducati have also released a statement to the effect that their production lines will be closed until March 24 in order to try to limit the spread of the virus. However, the firm’s not completely closed for business. We’re told "all activities related to the development of new products and market support continue, in compliance with the rules of conduct against the spread of the virus, making extensive use of smart working technology."

Back in the UK, Triumph have closed their Factory Visitor Experience and postponed all factory tours. If you had a booking, they will be in touch soon to

Motorbike sport and Covid-19

In sport there have been a significant number of changes to schedules across the world.

In British Superbikes, it has today been announced that the Oulton Park (May 1-3) and Donington Park (May 22-24) rounds have been postponed, following following the MCRCB and the ACU's decision to suspend all motorcycle circuit racing events until at least May 31. The opening round at Silverstone had already been postponed, with the April 1-2 test cancelled.

In road racing, the Isle of Man TT has been cancelled and the North West 200 postponed

In MotoGP the Qatar round of the championship was cancelled and the Thailand race postponed indefinitely.

In World Superbikes (WSB), Spanish and French rounds have been pushed back to October, leaving the next planned weekend Assen on April 17-19.

And finally, the famous Le Mans 24-hour World Endurance race has been pushed back to September 5-6.

Don’t forget, as the pandemic progresses you’ll still be able to buy digital editions of MCN to keep up with the latest news in biking.

Read the latest stories causing a buzz this week in News…

Gareth Evans

By Gareth Evans

New rider, engineering enthusiast, old car racer, runner of websites