MotoGP: Extra dates added to Qatar Test following Sepang Test cancellation
Two extra Official test days and a Shakedown test day will now be held at the Losail International Circuit in March.
The decision was made following the cancellations of February's Sepang Tests due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Originally, the Malaysian circuit was set to host a three-day Shakedown and three-day official test.
The original Qatar Test (March 10-12) will still go ahead as planned; however, the MotoGP paddock will now head to Losail a littler earlier. The new schedule is as follows:
- March 3-4: Setup
- March 5: Shakedown Test (rookies and test riders only)
- March 6-7: Official Test
- March 10-12: Official Test
Currently the 2021 season is due to begin on March 28 at the same circuit. Given the various lockdowns and restrictions throughout Europe due to Covid-19, it may be that the teams and other MotoGP staff choose to remain in Qatar to avoid any further disruption.
It’s still not clear whether rounds two and three – held in Argentina and the USA – will go ahead at this stage.
MotoGP: February Sepang Tests cancelled due to Covid-19 restrictions
First published: 12 January 2021 by Josh Close
The three-day tests were due to take place on February 14-16 and February 19-21 respectively but have now been called off following a state of emergency being declared in Malaysia due to a surge in new Covid-19 cases.
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"The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the cancellation of both the Shakedown Test and the Official Sepang Test," today's statement reads. "The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting lockdowns and complications have obliged the cancellation of both events, which were set to take place at Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia in February."
The statement went on to say that, as things stand, the Qatar Test is going ahead. The Losail International Circuit is due to hold the pre-season event on March 10-12.
Whilst the tests in Malaysia have been cancelled, rumours are circulating that they may be replaced by tests held in Europe. The circuits being linked with pre-season tests include Jerez, which is hosting a World Superbike test next week and also a Moto2/3 test on March 16-18, and Portimao.
Currently the 2021 season is due to begin on March 28 in Qatar however things are likely to change given that the pandemic has once again escalated across Europe - including full lockdowns throughout the UK and localised lockdowns in Spain. Rounds two and three, in Argentina and America, are most at risk of being cancelled or postponed.
Today's statement concluded by saying that any further updates or changes to the testing schedule and/or the calendar will be provided as soon as available.