MotoGP: Double Jerez rounds proposed for end of July

The start of the 2019 MotoGP race at Jerez
The start of the 2019 MotoGP race at Jerez

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta has agreed to make a proposal to the Spanish government that, if approved, would see the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto hold two MotoGP rounds and one WSB round at the end of July and the start of August.

Ezpeleta had already targeted July as a new start date to the 2020 MotoGP season but warned that any racing will take place in very different conditions as the world deals with the pandemic.

“Our idea right now is to start at the end of July. Where and when are still to be decided,” explained the 74-year-old. “We’re sure our initial programme is to start in Europe and race from the end of July until November and see what’s happening, and if the non-European races will be possible after November. In the worst case, if it’s not possible to travel outside of Europe, we’ll keep a championship of least 10 to 12 races between the end of July and the end of November.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta speaking at the Qatar Grand Prix

If approved, the two Jerez MotoGP rounds will take place on July 19 and 26, followed by a WSB round on August 2.

But the landscape in which these races could take place will be very different from anything seen before with no spectators trackside and a reduction in team personnel, TV broadcasters and media at each event. Plus, anyone attending the race, from riders through to teams and organisers, will have to have a test.

Ezpeleta said: “What we are doing is to trying to make a protocol to see how the races could be run without spectators and with a limited number of people working in the paddock. Everyone will be tested before leaving their house, then tested when they arrive at the circuit and when they return home. We are working with another company to acquire 10,000 tests.”

Dorna have also begun working on personnel numbers, with factory teams which can have up to 80 staff, having their manpower reduced dramatically.

“We arrived at a consensus that maximum number for a MotoGP manufacturer team will be 40, for satellite or independent teams will be 25, 20 for Moto2 and 15 for Moto3,” Ezpeleta explained.  “Then there will be, of course, all the people who produce the television signal; all this crew, then the minimum number of people from Dorna who are in charge of race organisation. This will give us an average of around 1600 people. Unfortunately there will be no media and no TV. Maybe some photographers to supply images to everybody.”

The announcement followed the cancellation of three more rounds of the series: Assen, Salzburgring and Kymiring in Finland.

Italian and Catalan rounds postponed

First published on April 7 2020 by MCN News

The FIM, Irta and Dorna have taken the decision to delay the back-to-back Italian and Catalan MotoGP rounds due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley was due to take place at Mugello between May 29-31, and the Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya was due between June 5-7 at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

New dates for the rounds have not yet been announced but we will bring you an updated calendar as soon as we have it.

Related: Coronavirus and motorbikes – your guide

The news follows the postponement of the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, which fell victim to the virus last week.

The opening lap of the 2019 French GP at Le Mans

Le Mans was scheduled to host the opening MotoGP race of the year on May 17 following the postponements or cancellation of several other GPs. Like the race at Jerez, no new date has been suggested because of the unpredictable situation the world currently finds itself in. 

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France, which was set to be held at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans from the 15th to the 17th of May, today’s statement read. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the event to be rescheduled.
As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for the French GP and the recently-postponed Gran Premio Red Bull de España cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events. A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.

The French round is the fifth race to be postponed and is added to a list which includes Thailand, America and Argentina and Spain (Jerez). The original season opener in Qatar was cancelled. 

As it stands, Mugello is next on the list to host the first MotoGP race of 2020 on May 31. However, Italy has been heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic and has been on lockdown for several weeks, so it’s likely that this race will also be postponed in the coming days. 

MotoGP: Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez postponed due to coronavirus pandemic

First published: 26 March 2019 by Josh Close

Jerez MotoGP

The Spanish Grand Prix at Jerez has become the latest MotoGP event to be postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The FIM and Dorna released a statement this morning (March 26) which confirmed that the Grand Prix, due to take place on May 1-3, had been delayed. Due to the unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 outbreak, no new date has been given for the Spanish round at this time.

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The race at Jerez is the fifth to either be cancelled or postponed this year, following in the footsteps of Qatar (cancelled), Thailand, America and Argentina. Jorge Lorenzo was due to race at Jerez as a wildcard entry for Yamaha.

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the Red Bull Gran Premio de España, which was set to be held at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto from the 1st to the 3rd of May, the statement reads. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the event to be rescheduled.

As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, a new date for the Spanish GP cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the event. A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.

Until an updated calendar is released, the French Grand Prix at Le Mans is next in line to host the opening race of 2020. However, given that this race is due to take place only two weeks later than the one at Jerez, on May 17, this is likely to change in the coming days. 

MotoGP: Letter from Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta

First published: 20 March 2019 by Josh Close

Carmelo Ezpeleta

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has written a letter to MotoGP and World Superbike fans regarding the ongoing postponement of both championships. 

Related: Coronavirus and motorbikes – your guide

The letter was published this morning, the original date of the Thailand Grand Prix which has been pushed back until November. You can read the letter below:

Dear all,

Today, the OR Thailand Grand Prix was set to be getting underway in Buriram; the race weekend that was meant to be the second of the season. The entire MotoGP™ paddock and family was supposed to be doing what we love the most: racing. We would have loved to watch the riders from each category fighting it out on track and delighting us to another last corner battle like we’ve come to expect from Buriram.

We would have loved to see the many international members of the paddock back hard at work for our fans; both those who travel from all over the world to join us trackside in Thailand and those who, like they do every race weekend, follow us faithfully from every corner of the globe. 

Due to the coronavirus crisis that’s sweeping the planet, clearly that hasn’t proved possible due to the preventive measures put in place by governments around the world to safeguard our health. That’s why, now more than ever, we have to be aware of our responsibility and support each other by following those restrictions and the recommendations of the authorities for the benefit of us all. This virus has stopped the world turning for an indefinite amount of time, but we’re sure that we’ll return to our daily lives and come out of it even stronger than before.  It’s a provisional break and I want to send everyone a message of confidence and calm in this situation.

Ever since Dorna became the promoter of the MotoGP™ World Championship, 29 seasons ago now, we have always been clear that racing is our mission, and that will continue to be the case. Even in the worst situations we will maintain our motto: the goal is to race. Competition is in our blood and I can’t imagine another scenario that would stop us. Covid-19 has affected each and every global sporting competition, and this pandemic has sadly been no stranger to the beginning of the 2020 MotoGP™ World Championship. Nevertheless, our sport will endure and race on – as it has since its birth in 1949. 

After the changes we’ve already announced, we now have to keep up to date with every detail of both the evolution of this pandemic and government policies, with the goal of maintaining the maximum number of events. That’s our main target and objective as of today.

Despite the challenges we face, we’re happy and proud to know that the sport itself is better than ever – as MotoGP™ preseason testing proved, where the timesheets were the tightest in history. In Qatar, we saw a glimpse of that already thanks to two magnificent races in Moto2™ and Moto3™ – and that’s only served to whet our appetite for more. 

The situation is identical for WorldSBK too, although, fortunately, they were able to complete their first round in Australia – and what a race weekend it was. The FIM Enel MotoE™ World Cup, the FIM Moto3™ Junior World Championship and each and every Cup and programme on the Road to MotoGP™ have also seen changes to their calendars, but we will likewise do everything we can to accommodate them to the best of our ability.

Our thoughts and any courses of action that we’ll undertake centre on two things: our fans and, of course, all those who work so hard to make our Championships possible. We are doing everything we can to see riders, engineers, mechanics, logistics personnel, executives, camera operators, journalists, multimedia technicians, coordinators and every other vital part of our sport back to doing what we do best – going racing. Something that always has been, is now and will continue to be the essence of who we are. At Dorna we are working to ensure that this crisis leaves the MotoGP™ family and all our paddocks with only one consequence; that of a modified calendar.

Finally, I would like to extend my thanks to the FIM, IRTA, the manufacturers, the riders in each Championship, the team members, promoters, broadcasters, sponsors, the media and each and every Dorna employee for the way they are all confronting this situation with such patience, professionalism and true understanding. It is a huge honour and a pleasure to have these incredible partners.

This is all to make sure we can return to entertaining and thrilling our fans as soon as possible. They are tireless and follow us faithfully from track to track or via whichever medium or platform they can, from one corner of the world to another. We owe it to them and to the incredible history of our sport.

So, to all those fans, there is only one thing left to say: we look forward to seeing you again soon – back on track.

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MotoGP: Carmelo Ezpeleta updates fans on current calendar situation

First published: 13 March 2020 by Josh Close

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has given MotoGP fans another update on the current status of the 2020 season.

The championship has been hit with several postponements and calendar changes because of the ongoing coronavirus update. In the last few days alone, the American Grand Prix and Argentinian Grand Prix have both been pushed back until November. As a result, there are now six races in seven weeks at the end of the year. 

“Since the coronavirus problem began, we’ve been following the instructions of each government, we have been in close contact with the promoters in Austin and Argentina and when the authorities said it wasn’t possible to do it now, we talked to other Grands Prix to try and accommodate… and we were able to,” Ezpeleta explains. “Now the calendar is ok, if everything continues as it is.

“As I said in the press conference in Qatar, our idea is to continue the Championship with all the races, that’s our aim. But if something is unpredictable… we’re following the situations with each government and especially the promoters. We’re in close contact with the FIM, IRTA, the teams, and of course with the promoters. We’re trying to accommodate everything in the moment, in close contact with them.”

Currently, the second round of the 2020 MotoGP season is due to take place at Jerez between May 1-3. However, the situation continues to change on a daily basis, with European countries still being hit with more coronavirus cases.

With several teams and riders under lockdown in Italy, and large gatherings being banned in countries like France, it’s hard to predict if the Spanish Grand Prix will go ahead, or in what capacity. 

“We are talking with the authorities in Jerez and today everything seems ok; there’s no problem. But we’ll see exactly what the situation is in the near future. We are trying to do everything as normally as we can but if the conditions of the local authorities are to race without spectators, we can consider it, along with the local promoter.”

Ezpeleta ended his interview with the official MotoGP website by promising fans that this year’s championship will be as exciting as ever, once it gets going.

“We are expecting a fantastic MotoGP season. We think the season will be amazing, and we’re waiting to start it as soon as possible. It’s a bit delayed from normal but if we can start on the schedule we have now, it really will be an exciting season.”

MotoGP: Argentinian round postponed until November

First published: 11 March 2020 by Josh Close

Argentina GP 2019

The Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina has officially been postponed until November 20-22 as coronavirus continues to play havoc with the season’s racing calendar.

The Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin retains its revised date of November 13-15, but the Valencia round has been moved to November 27-29.

As it stands, the first round will now be Gran Premio Red Bull de España at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto between May 1-3.

Revised MotoGP calendar

Revised MotoGP calendar

Coronavirus claims another round as Grand Prix of the Americas moved to November

First published: 10 March 2020 by Josh Close

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna have announced that the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas due to take place April 3-5 will now take place on November 13-15. This also means the Valencia round will now be held from November 20-22.

Revised MotoGP calendar:

MotoGP calendar as of March 10, 2020

Dorna reveal updated 2020 MotoGP calendar following coronavirus cancellations

First published: 5 March 2020 by Josh Close

The 2020 calendar has been updated following the cancellation of the Qatar MotoGP race and postponement of the Thailand Grand Prix. 

The start of the new season has been thrown into chaos due to the spread of the coronavirus, medically known as Covid-19. Travel restrictions led to the premier class race at Qatar being called off, whilst fears that the virus could spread further led to Thai officials postponing the race in Buriram. Dorna Sports CEO Cermelo Ezpeleta then released a statement to reassure fans that there would be a championship in 2020. 

An updated calendar was revealed in the official press conference for this weekend’s Moto2 and Moto3 earlier today. This year’s MotoGP season is now due to begin at The Circuit of the Americas on April 5. The Texan circuit was originally due to host round three of the championship. 

The Thailand Grand Prix has been moved to October 4, replacing the Aragon Grand Prix which has been move forward a week to September 27. It was also confirmed that the premier class will not go to Qatar this year. 

These are the only changes to the existing calendar, with the premier class riders competing in 19 races and the Moto2 and Moto3 riders completing 20.

Of course, plenty could still change in the four weeks still remaining before the first round of MotoGP. The unpredictable nature of the coronavirus could lead to further travel restrictions around the globe, including in the USA and Argentina. You can see the new 2020 MotoGP calendar below.

Revised 2020 MotoGP calendar

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