Guest Blog: Mat Oxley - MotoGP season opener to be confirmed this month

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 season opener to be confirmed this month

Dorna hopes 2020 championship will start in Spain in July, with strict medical protocols and quarantine rules in place

MotoGP rights-holder Dorna hopes to announce the start of the 2020 MotoGP world championship in the next few weeks. The Spanish-based company is aiming to get the racing underway in Spain in July, with ten or 11 races in Europe, possibly followed by several more outside Europe.

Currently, these races are expected to be viewed only on TV, with no trackside fans allowed, due to ongoing COVID-19 restrictions.

“Two weeks ago our plan was to start in August at the Red Bull Ring,” said Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, speaking to the MotoGP Roundtable podcast yesterday. “We still have the dates for Brno [August 9] and Austria [August 16], so we will do those races if we can, but if we can start earlier in Spain then we will. We need two or three more weeks to decide definitively. We think we can propose the calendar more clearly in the third or fourth week of May.

“In principal the first scenario is to start at the end of July and concentrate on making races in Europe, moving around a maximum of five countries, with ten to 11 races. At some circuits we will have one race, at others we will have two races on consecutive weekends. Then we will stop for one week and then change circuits.”

Most likely the 2020 MotoGP championship will start with races at Jerez, Aragon and Barcelona, because crossing borders is likely to be the biggest problem in making the season happen.

“We are trying to understand what is possible by being in contact with all the governments, trying to understand the situation for the dates we propose to have each GP,” added Ezpeleta.

The foundation of Dorna’s plans is a detailed medical protocol, currently being finalised with various sporting and government bodies.

“We are working on a protocol to show to the authorities of each country that we can be safe,” explained Ezpeleta. “In Spain we are talking with the government, the ministry of transport and the ministry of health. The Spanish ministry of sport has created a body for this situation, so we are there with the Spanish federation, discussing the protocol. In Italy we are working with the Italian Olympic committee and the national federation, trying to arrive at a protocol. Then we will join the protocols from Spain and Italy to give us the best possibility.

“In the Czech Republic we are talking with the government, the South Moravian government and the city of Brno. In Austria this is handled by the promoters, because they are also doing Formula 1, which will have a similar protocol. So we are talking to Spain, Italy, Austria and the Czech Republic, but we still need to talk with Silverstone.”

The logistics of putting these protocols into effect are immense.

Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.

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Comments

It'll have been 6 months since anyone raced so I wouldn't be too surprised if the first few races were a bit unpredictable. Not least because of over-enthusiasm!