MotoGP: Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta releases statement on coronavirus situation
Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has released a statement commenting on the current status of the 2020 MotoGP season.
In the statement Ezpeleta explains that the situation in Qatar changed on Sunday following the outbreak of the virus in Italy.
"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," Ezpeleta said.
"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."
The Moto2 and Moto3 races will go ahead as planned because the teams and riders are already in Qatar after testing there last week.
Less than 24 hours after the Qatar race was cancelled, the entire Grand Prix in Thailand was postponed indefinitely. Ezpeleta revealed that the situation in Thailand is slightly different, in that they're not banning people from entering the country.
"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."
Ezpeleta ended the statement by promising fans that there will be a MotoGP season this year and that Dorna Sports will continue to stay on top of the on-going situation.
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MotoGP: Qatar Grand Prix cancelled due to coronavirus restrictions
First published: 20:43 1 March by Josh Close
Cases of the virus, known medically as Covid-19, have spiked in Italy this week - where a large number of the MotoGP paddock are based. The death toll in Italy has now reached 34, with almost 1700 people reportedly infected. Globally, over 3000 people have been killed with almost 90,000 cases recorded.
The official statement released by FIM, IRTA and Dorna reads:
"The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has resulted in Qatar travel restrictions being brought into force that affect passengers from Italy, amongst other countries. As of today, 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 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."
Although there will be no MotoGP event, both Moto3 and Moto2 will go ahead as planned. This is because the teams and riders were already in Qatar for their official three-day test last week. The two Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup races will also go ahead as planned for this very reason.
This evening's announcement also suggests that the Thai Grand Prix may also be cancelled. Doubts were already being raised about the second round of the championship before the recent increase in coronavirus cases. Thailand has also reported its first coronavirus fatality in the last few hours.
With all of this in mind it's likely that the opening round of the season will now take place at The Circuit of the Americas. The Texan circuit was originally scheduled to host round three of the championship.