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Coronavirus Travel Restrictions Force Cancellation of MotoGP Opener at Qatar – Update Concerning Thai GP and Remaining Races

***Updated March 2, 2020***

Yesterday’s article is reprinted below, but we have additional information regarding the scheduled Round 2 in Thailand. Also due to coronavirus concerns, the Thailand GP will be rescheduled to a later date, according to Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, who explains the continually evolving concerns with coronavirus in this video. For the time being, the remaining 2020 schedule is intact, but things could obviously change. Here is yesterday’s story:

The opening round of the 2020 MotoGP series scheduled for Qatar next weekend has been cancelled. The Moto3 and Moto2 categories will race in Qatar, however, as a result of those classes currently testing in that foreign country, as explained in the following press release. The cancellation of the MotoGP category results from the mandatory quarantine (of 14 days minimum) for travelers to Qatar from Italy.

Here is the press release issued by the FIM, IRTA and Dorna:

MotoGP™ Class cancelled at the Grand Prix of Qatar

Due to Qatar travel restrictions brought into force affecting passengers from Italy, the premier class will not race at Losail

FIM, IRTA and Dorna regret to announce the cancellation of all MotoGP™ class sessions at the Grand Prix of Qatar, including the race.

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 2 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.

As the teams and riders of the Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes were already in Qatar for the three-day official test at Losail International Circuit earlier this week, the races of both categories will be possible. The lightweight and intermediate classes will therefore compete in their season opener from the 6th to 8th March. The same will apply to the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, which will have two races during the Qatar Grand Prix as originally planned. Stay tuned for a revised schedule.

80 Comments

  1. My2cents says:

    I did some quick calculations so they might not be completely accurate but here it goes. China the ground zero for this and most other epidemics was reporting a death rate of 2.2 % , Italy is reporting a death rate of 3.4% which allows anyone to conclude that China was not being truthful about reporting.
    Many of you in here have calculated on the total volume of global or country population becoming infected ie; USA population of 331,000,000 = 1,230,000 dead in the USA alone. When in fact it’s 3.4% of the infected and these numbers are unbalanced towards the elderly or weaker individuals.
    So short story long, the general motorcycle community is aging out and therefore are prime targets. I would suggest several of you plan on passing your lightly used motorcycles onto me. Enclose the signed title free of legal incumbent and rest assured you’ll not be forgotten.

    • Dave says:

      Fatality rate is number of known cases / deaths. These numbers are always high early on because they cannot know how many have been infected for a long time. It is know that there are very many mild cases that are going un-diagnosed so the “real” fatality rate will likely come in much lower than what’s being reported now.

      Even if it lands around 1%-1.5%, as contagious as this thing is, if they don’t contain it, it’ll be devastating.

  2. John Fisher says:

    I was somewhat concerned about the lack of MOTOGP this weekend. Marquez, Rossi–Who are these guys?
    Best Racing I have seen in along time. The real action is moto 2. The commentary, the riders,…Awesome!Great to see an American in the mix and a Japanese on a KTM. WOW!

  3. mickey says:

    Here’s a fix for ya

    Joe Roberts, first American to take pole for a MotoGP race (Moto2) in a decade, racing tomorrow at Qatar, and setting a new Moto 2 lap record for the course in the process.

  4. mickey says:

    Am American named Roberts just set a new all time lap record around the Losail cicuit on a Moto2 bike in FP-1.

    Yep, an American

    Maybe someday there will be another one in MotoGP. I’m sure Dorna would love that!

  5. Delmartian says:

    As much as I enjoy watching MotoGP, I personally think the season has too many races now. While 30 years ago there were only 13 or 14 races per season, here’s the progression since:
    1996 – 15 Races
    1999 – 16 Races
    2007 – 17 Races: Added Laguna Seca as Race #15
    2010 – 18 Races
    2018 – 19 Races: Added Thailand as Race #15 in early October
    2020 – 20 Races: Thailand moved up to Race #2 in March; Added Finland as Race #11

    I think 16 races per season was perfect. 20 is too many. For those of you who say the more the better, would you want to see 30 races per season ? 40 ? Just as 16 NFL Football games per season is perfect, yet they’re now talking about increasing the schedule to 18 games, sometimes enough is enough, and the motivation for more profit can ruin a good thing.

  6. Rusty says:

    Seriously, where is Dirck? It’s been too quiet here lately. I need my Motorcycle info Daily!

  7. Fujkami says:

    If you have symptoms go heavy on garlic, ginger, rosemary and those antiviral herbs. Eat really well with lots of fruits and vegetables and get some vitamin B for your immune system. We are in fact exposed to many many many deadly viruses, bacteria and toxins every day. We have to keep our immune systems up. How many chronic smokers with black lungs is this thing killing? China has cigarette smoke literally EVERYWHERE including taxis, hotels, restaurants etc. Pneumonia waiting to happen. Many also eat ANYTHING that moves. Keep that in mind. Their outdoor wet markets were shameful pigstys. Yes it may kill any one of us. Life will someday. It’s all part of being on this planet which in so many ways is a house of horrors. So get on your bike and ride. If you’re reading this, start that motor and head out.

  8. Ricardo says:

    I think Dorna should look into Laguna Seca and Indianapolis Motorspeedway as substitutes for these GPs and keep as much races as possible in the calendar.

    • Dave says:

      Currently one of the big concerns is where people are traveling from. With Italy having a bad outbreak, I don’t know that they want to encourage travel out of the regions where they’re having issues right now.

      There were 6 confirmed infections among European participants at a cycling event in UAE. Some of the teams have been made to stay there through March 14th. The race was stopped last week.

    • Gary says:

      There are two types of countries: Those where coronavirus is epidemic and those that aren’t testing for it. Can you guess which the U.S. is? And that includes Laguna and Indie.

  9. bmidd says:

    Does WSBK even get covered here, or is it just MotoGP and Harley Press releases?

    • mickey says:

      yes but it doesnt garner the number of responses that GP does … by a wide margin.

      btw the Qatar round of the WSBK has been postponed as well.

      • Dave says:

        I just found that WSBK and MOTOGP races will be aired on NBC Sports this season. My DVR picked up Phillip Island Race 2 (even if it was labeled “Losail”) this weekend.

        Hopefully this news circulates so everyone who wants to watch knows they can find it there.

        • Fivespeed302 says:

          I looked on NBCSports.com and there’s no mention other than acknowledging Joe Roberts’ breaking the track record. I already have the season pass for MotoGP but it would be cool to catch a few WSB races.

  10. Hot Dog says:

    Qatar has had very small attendance at the races, like maybe under 5,000 for the race, so it’s not surprising Dorna can let it slide. Now Thailand is a whole different animal, with huge crowds expected during the event, so Dorna is only “postponing” the event. I sure how this blows over soon.

  11. Jeremy says:

    This fear mongering is getting out of hand. I could tolerate the stock market crash, but this is going too far, dammit.

  12. Stickman says:

    First I find out NBCSN has picked up MotoGP for broadcast this year after I paid good money to stream it on Videopass, now I find out first two rounds (as of now) are cancelled! Arrgh, can’t win!

    • Curtis says:

      The video pass features tons more…features, than network coverage. Once things get rolling, it’ll be worth it.

    • Jeremy says:

      You paid the money, so I assume you are a pretty serious fan. As such, I guarantee you’ll wonder why you waited so long. I’ve been subscribed to the video pass since Dorna put it out there, and I learned to love not only the race, but the whole process leading up to starting position on the grid via the FP and qualifying sessions. The post race press conference is always very interesting to me as well.

      I also got to enjoy the Moto3 and Moto2 races, learned the protagonists in those feeder series and watch them try to graduate to the big show.

      But wait… There’s more! They have nearly three decades of GP seasons. I like going back in time to watch some of the old races.

      And you can do this anytime you want without worrying about whether World Championship Poker ran over it’s time slot and screwed up you’re DVR recording.

    • jody says:

      After five years of VideoPass, this is the first year I did not renew. I got lucky but I feel for the folks that put out a huge chunk of cash for a season in question.

  13. ApriliaRST says:

    I’m surprised by the number of posts claiming it’s all a hoax.

    • joe b says:

      That just proves, there are still many here in the USA, that cant get their mind around facts. Throwing their hands in the air, running in circles, blaming others for something their little minds cant fathom, and never will. Its a sad situation, and when i see them going to vote, its easy to see how we get incompetent people running our country. I’ve always been someone, as a motorcyclist since youth, someone who can see cause and results. That others are so blind, ignorant, is difficult for me to swallow these days, as I get older.

      • Motoman says:

        Wish I didn’t have to agree with you joe b. I can really relate to a lack of patience with ignorance (aka laziness) as I get older too. And if another person tells me I lack faith I’m gonna puke!

  14. endoman38 says:

    And Thailand, too.

  15. FNFAL says:

    No, not now! I still need to experience a Ducati Streetfighter or live to see a direct injection 2-stroke momo. Oh well, Black Horse on deck first…economy crippling inflation. On the other hand, the health impact from the virus at least for the USA should be minimal.

  16. Montana says:

    The Corona virus scare reminds me of the great Y2K worldwide computer crisis, or the Paul Ehrlich “Population Bomb’ bullshit that had all survivors fearfully quivering in caves by the year 2000 as a result of global starvation.

    • Fred_M. says:

      Except that coronavirus is real, has already proven to have about 20 times the mortality rate of the seasonal flu, and is much more contagious than the flu. There is no vaccine available, leaving those at high risk of death from it (diabetics, asthmatics, elderly, immune compromised, etc.) without any options for inoculation.

      If you want to go to Wuhan and eat bats to demonstrate your manliness, that’s your call. But to the rest of us, especially those of us at high risk, or with loved ones at high risk, these precautions seem reasonable.

    • Dave says:

      People are already dying from this so it’s not BS. Currently it’s believed to have a 2.5-3% fatality rate. 25,000 per 1 million? Allowed to get out of control and run it’s course, that changes the whole planet. Would you risk that?

    • Montana says:

      The Swine Flu, Aids, and the Ebola Virus were real too. According to the media, they were all ‘out of control’, and Ford, Reagan, and Bush respectively were responsible.
      How long before the public recognizes a pattern?

      • Dave says:

        Those things are all still real and they’re still problems. Remember that this last Ebola outbreak wasn’t the first. Difference here is, many who contact this latest virus will have only mild symptoms, going undiagnosed and spreading the virus among populations. Unlike Ebola, which kills its host in days, this will ride us around for weeks before w realize there’s a problem.

        Hopefully we see the usual (Regan notwithstanding, his response was terrible) pattern, which is governments react appropriately and stop the spread of the disease. Faith in the US government is at an all-time low so better wash your hands a lot…

      • Fred_M. says:

        Montana wrote: “The Swine Flu, Aids, and the Ebola Virus were real too.”

        The 2009-2010 Swine Flu (H1N1) had a mortality rate of 0.02%, compared to more than 2% for coronavirus; coronavirus more than 100 times deadlier and it appears to be even more contagious.

        AIDS has killed more than 32 million people, so I guess you think there was no need to worry about that, either. Unlike coronavirus, AIDS was not contagious at all through casual contact.

        As to Ebola, we took extraordinary measures to quarantine every person with it, effectively preventing a massive, deadly epidemic that could have killed tens of millions. Who in the media blamed Bush for the spread of Ebola, a disease that came to the U.S. when Obama was President?

  17. VLJ says:

    This whole “coronavirus” thing is obviously a sinister plot designed to give HRC and Marc Marquez’s bum shoulder more time to get their act together. Qatar was likely going to prove to be an unusually bad weekend across the board for Honda, so, bam…

    …full on Dr. Evil shenanigans from MotoGP’s Dark Overlords.

    J/K. (Maybe. A little.)

  18. Tommy D says:

    I see this being a confirmation that this is world news and not just US media fear mongering. NO MotoGP! Will WSBK follow? Who cares about the stock market crashing down. This really sucks!

    • Grover says:

      It’s fear mongering until it isn’t. Having said that I’m going to the gym then taking a ride from Oregon to California. I’m not going to alter my life at the present, but it may become wise to avoid crowds if the numbers get much worse. Have to wait and see where this virus is going.

  19. Gene says:

    And in the mean time another 20,000 or so have died from the flu in the last week. 60,000 people per year die in the US every year from the flu. Mass media is making a mountain out of a mole hill.

    • Dave says:

      Countless millions get the flu every year. This virus has a fatality 10-20x of the seasonal flu. If it gets out of control, millions, not thousands, will die.

  20. Mike says:

    It’s all a hoax.

  21. mickey says:

    Thai race was cancelled this morning too.

  22. carl says:

    Not worried about the virus but the way they are dealing with it, shutting down everything, we are going to end up in a depression.

    • MGNorge says:

      With the CBC so gutted of good qualified people they became ineffective to deal with it. This virus is still an unknown, do you run full steam ahead and let the chips fall where they may or do you err on the side of caution? Just this morning was a report that the nation’s corporate leaders, unable to get answers from the CBC, are doing the latter. They do expect it to be short term but that’s a wait and see. If the markets weren’t so volatile there’d be more of a buffer built in. The casino economy.

      • Motoman says:

        Agree with your post MCNorge. Slight correction, it’s CDC (Center for Disease Control) not CBC…. although under the current admin. you may be correct “Center for Bullsh*t Control”. 🙂

      • MGNorge says:

        That should be the “CDC”, too early in the morning.

      • Mike says:

        They can make no assessment at all about it. “Short term”? They don’t fully understand it yet. The stock market was due a correction anyway, the coronavirus just set it off.
        I’m not panicking but I cancelled plans to fly cross country. This time of year everybody is coughing and hacking.
        Two people from Rhode Island who visited Italy got it. Two people in Oregon died already. Not good.

        • mickey says:

          Tonight my wife and I discussed cancelling a planned trip to Washington State this summer.

          • Jeremy says:

            Just got back from Greece last month. Heading to Spain at the end of this month. Not the least bit concerned.

          • mickey says:

            Take a mask and some hand sanitizer Jeremy lol…. and NO hand shaking.

          • Jeremy says:

            Haha. I’ll pass on the mask, but my wife makes sure we are always drenched in hand sanitizer when we fly!

          • Mike says:

            Mickey, I was going to fly cross country to California in April. I cancelled my plans until later on in the year. I am not panicking it’s just this time of year somebody is always coughing and hacking on the plane. Besides, right now in the US there’s about 60 people with it and six have died. In two weeks there could be ten thousand. There’s a tiny chance you’d get it and a small chance you could die from it but unless you really need to fly, this would be a good time to not fly. Besides, if one person sneezes near you your vacation would be ruined thinking you just got it.

  23. probably all will get cancelled!

  24. Rhinestone Kawboy says:

    That’s a bummer! But on the bright side, glad to see you’re still with us Dirck! 🙂

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