Another Week, Another Cancellation: Mugello And Barcelona MotoGP Rounds Postponed

Another week, another motorcycle race postponed, with no date set for rescheduling. This week it is the turn of the Mugello and Barcelona rounds of MotoGP, scheduled to take place on May 31st and June 7th respectively. Today, the FIM, IRTA, and Dorna announced that the Italian and Catalunya rounds of MotoGP have been postponed, and no new date has been set for them to take place.

With Mugello and Barcelona postponed, the first race on the calendar is now the German round at the Sachsenring, due to be held on June 21st. The postponement of Barcelona also means the loss of the second post-race test for the MotoGP class, after the test at Jerez was also lost. Whether those tests will be replaced is unknown at this time.

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FIM President Jorge Viegas On Iannone Doping Ban: "Everything Will Be Published After The CAS"

Since the announcement on Wednesday that Andrea Iannone's suspension for violating the FIM doping code had been reduced to 18 months, there have been questions surrounding the verdict. In interviews and press releases, Iannone himself, his lawyer, and Aprilia had all contended that he had been found innocent of intentionally ingesting drostanolone, a banned exogenous anabolic androgenic steroid. The International Disciplinary court of the FIM, the CDI, had accepted Iannone's claim that he had accidentally ingested the substance by eating contaminated meat, Iannone and his entourage told the media.

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Dorna Announce Financial Support Package For MotoGP Teams

Dorna has announced a financial support package for the Grand Prix teams. The independent MotoGP teams are to be given money for the months of April, May, and June, and payments are also to be made to the Moto2 and Moto3 teams.

Though no amounts are mentioned in the press release, Spanish daily AS.com is reporting that each of MotoGP's private teams - Petronas Yamaha, Red Bull KTM Tech3, Reale Avintia Ducati, Pramac Ducati, LCR Honda, and the Gresini Aprilia squad (still technically an independent team) - is to be given an amount of €250,000 per month for the three months of April, May, and June, with this amount to be paid whether any racing happens or not.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 138: The Fast Freddie Spencer Special

With racing still not happening, we have another special episode of the Paddock Pass Podcast out. This time, Neil Morrison and Steve English get together to talk about one of the great legends of Grand Prix racing, Freddie Spencer.

Steve and Neil go through Spencer's career, and the bikes he rode. They intersperse the podcast with interviews which both Steve and Neil did with the former 500cc and 250cc champion, in which he covers a huge range of subjects. Spencer talks about how he got started in the US, his career in Grand Prix racing, the history of the Honda NS500 and NSR500s, and much more.

It's a special show, in lots of ways, and worth a listen.

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Another One Down - Le Mans MotoGP Race Postponed Until Further Notice

The COVID-19 outbreak continues to wreak havoc on the 2020 MotoGP calendar. Today, Dorna announced that the French Grand Prix at Le Mans, due to be held on 15th-17th May, has been postponed until further notice.

As happened with Jerez, no new date for Le Mans has been announced. MotoGP, like all other international sports, faces a huge problem in putting together a calendar, in the face of uncertainty over how long restrictions on travel and events will continue. In large parts of Europe, the target date is currently April 30th, but that date looks likely to be extended. Despite positive signs that the spread of the disease is slowing, it is very far from being under control.

The postponement of Le Mans now makes Mugello the first race on the provisional calendar. But with the COVID-19 outbreak still widespread in Italy, the chances of the Mugello round taking place on the weekend of May 31st look slim.

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Tech Briefs: Tyres, Or How Evolution Brings Revolution In WorldSBK

In the era of control tyres in WorldSBK Pirelli has shown that it’s no excuse to halt development

In racing, you’re always competing. You’re battling against the clock and you’re battling against your rivals. Performance and pushing the boundaries is the key to success. But what happens when you are a control supplier to a championship? For over fifteen years that’s been the conundrum for Pirelli.

It’s very easy to look at tyres in a control era and think that development has stood still. Why would a tyre company want to push to the limits when the only time they’ll be noticed is if something goes wrong? For Pirelli, the sole tyre supplier to WorldSBK since 2004, the goal is to ensure development keeps pace with the evolution of current road-going machinery.

A control tyre doesn’t have to mean a lack of development. Recent years have shown the opposite, with changes to the profiles of tyres and the introduction of a host of “development” tyres in 2019. The goal for Pirelli for these tyres is to develop them into the tyres that customers can buy in the shops for use on track days and in club races. The goal for Pirelli has always been to produce production tyres from their involvement in WorldSBK for their customers.

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Andrea Iannone Handed 18-Month Doping Ban By FIM CDI, Will Appeal To The CAS

The International Disciplinary Court of the FIM has reached a decision at last. Andrea Iannone has been found guilty of having a banned substance in his bloodstream, and suspended from competition for 18 months. The ban is backdated to December 17th, 2019, meaning that Iannone will be eligible to compete from the 16th June 2021.

The ban of 18 months is a reduction from the maximum allowed by the rules of 4 years, and an acknowledgement that Iannone did not ingest the banned substance - anabolic steroid drostanolone - with intent. According to a press release from Aprilia the court accepted that drostanolone ended up in Iannone's urine sample due to food contamination.

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Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - Happy 24th MotoGP birthday to Valentino Rossi!

Valentino Rossi contested his first GP 24 years ago today, so we’re looking back at his first race and wondering when he will ride his last

Today is Valentino Rossi’s 24th grand prix birthday, marking the anniversary of his world championship debut on 31 March 1996.

On that day he finished sixth in his debut world-class outing, at Shah Alam, Malaysia’s first grand prix circuit. Winner of the 125cc race was countryman Stefano Perugini.

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Editor's Blog: April Fool's Day 2020 Is Canceled, Here's Something Better Instead

Normally this morning, you would be reading a story here which would seem plausible but surprising, and wondering if it was true. I, in turn, would be wondering how long it would take for readers to cotton on that the story was just an April Fool's gag.

But not this year. As I sat trying to think up a story which was just about credible, I was overtaken by a feeling of sadness. There is not going to be any racing any time soon, and anything I might concoct might end up giving someone false hope, and make the wait for racing even more unbearable than it has been so far.

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Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta: "We Will Reschedule Races When We Know When The Season Can Start"

There is a desire for certainty in these uncertain times. Everyone involved in motorcycle racing is wondering what happens next, and when we will be able to start racing again. News websites are filled with countless interviews, news articles, and opinion pieces full of theories as to what the next race may be.

If there is one person in a position what the race might be, it is Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna, and the man who heads the organization which runs both the MotoGP and WorldSBK championships. Spanish sports daily AS.com spoke to Ezpeleta to find out where motorcycle racing stands in 2020.

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GPSpirit Video: Niki Kovács Interviews Simone Battistella, Part 2 - On Mental Strength

In part 2 of Niki Kovács' interview with Simone Battistella, the rider manager talks about how riders need to approach the enforced break caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Battistella tells Hungarian journalist and ex-racer Kovács what he is telling the riders he manages to do during this enforced period of inactivity, and the things they can do to prepare themselves for when racing returns.

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Paddock Pass Podcast Episode 137: The Fabio Quartararo Show

There may be no racing going on for the foreseeable future, but there is still plenty to talk about. This week's episode of the Paddck Pass Podcast is a special about Fabio Quartararo. Steve English, Neil Morrison, and David Emmett gather remotely to discuss the past, present, and future of the astonishing French youngster.

We take a look back at how Quartararo entered the Grand Prix paddock, and the expectations placed upon him. We talk about the challenges and pressures he faced, and how he responded to them. And we discuss how he handled his first year in the premier class.

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Jerez MotoGP Round Postponed - Calendar Updates Put On Hold

The start of the MotoGP season has been delayed once again. Today, Dorna and the FIM announced that the Spanish Grand Prix, to be held at Jerez on May 3rd, has been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. The postponement affects the MotoGP, Moto2, and Moto3 classes, as well as MotoE. It also means the loss of the official IRTA test scheduled for the Monday after Jerez.

Unlike previous races, however, a new date for the Jerez round has not been announced. This reflects the reality of an ongoing, fast-moving situation, in which Dorna is dependent on too many external factors to be able to draw up a schedule which is likely to hold up over the next few months. Until the course of the global pandemic becomes clearer, any calendar is provision at best.

For a deeper dive into the problems facing Dorna as they attempt to assemble a new calendar, see this article posted last night.

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Coronavirus Update: The Challenges Facing MotoGP And WorldSBK In 2020 And Beyond

No news is good news, at least as far as the current outbreak of COVID-19, or the coronavirus is concerned. And for thirteen days – nearly two whole weeks – we went without a change to the calendars of either the WorldSBK and MotoGP calendars. Given the speed at which the world has changed over the past two weeks, that is almost an eternity in normal time.

The same could not be said for other motorsport disciplines. For two weeks, we have been inundated with cancellations and postponements. The Le Mans 24 Hours Endurance motorcycle race has been postponed until August. The Daytona 200 and Daytona TT flat track races were postponed until October. The Merzouga Rally has been canceled, the route of the Silk Way Rally changed. The Isle of Man TT was canceled, Supercross and MXGP had rounds canceled and postponed.

The TT wasn't the only iconic event to be canceled. F1 canceled Monaco, probably the most prestigious race on its calendar, and postponed the races at Zandvoort and Barcelona, joining the Bahrain, Vietnam and China races in being pushed back to the second half of the year. The Le Mans 24 Hours car race was put back until September.

Changing day by day

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