MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
MotoGP 2020: Plans for an August start... and the doomsday scenario
Optimists hope the MotoGP season will start in August, while pessimists think that a single-class, three-race championship at one circuit is more likely
The 2020 MotoGP world championship could get underway at Red Bull Ring in August.
Following the cancellation or postponement of the first ten rounds of the 20-round series there is now the hope that the Austrian circuit will host the season-opening race on August 16.
The Formula 1 championship is aiming to start its season at the same venue, on July 5, with no fans allowed and COVID-19 testing required for all team staff. If that event goes off well, with no regional spike in COVID-19 cases, then MotoGP could follow six weeks later, using the same format.
It’s rumoured that Formula 1 is planning to stay at the Alpine circuit for two weeks to stage the second round of its championship on July 12.
The choice of Red Bull Ring as the season opener will please some MotoGP riders and teams more than others. Ducati has never been beaten at the track, so you can be sure of opposition from rival manufacturers if Dorna proposes an F1-style double-header there.
The current MotoGP calendar has the next round happening in Britain, but the coronavirus situation is very different in the two countries, with Austria suffering around 600 deaths so far and the British death toll exceeding 20,000. Thus it’s far from certain that the MotoGP paddock would be allowed to assemble at Silverstone at the end of August.
Even if the British GP can’t go ahead Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta is determined to push ahead with as many rounds as possible, both in Europe, in Asia, which is due to stage three MotoGP rounds in October, and in the Americas, which has the postponed US and Argentine rounds due in November.
Of course, all of this is subject to quarantine regulations, travel protocols, social-distancing rules and myriad other factors that change from country to country and from week to week.
Last Friday FIM Asia hosted an online seminar that looked into the practicalities of overcoming the challenges of starting the 2020 racing season in the region. Although the discussion was aimed specifically at Asian promoters it applies to anyone hoping to arrange an international race series at this time.
Asia-based journalist and commentator Barry Russell took part in the FIM Asia seminar and gave a very realistic outline of the situation in his blog.
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.