The current 2020 MotoGP calendar is as follows:
There is a plan for the 2020 MotoGP season. With the COVID-19 outbreak receding all across Europe, Dorna have been given a second chance at setting a calendar for the 2020 MotoGP season.The newly published calendar will see 13 races held at circuits in Europe in the first instance, with the possibility of four overseas races being tacked on at the end of the year, if conditions permit. The calendar is explictly still provisional, subject to local rules and regulations concerning the COVID-19 pandemic.
The races will be held at 8 different circuits in 6 countries, with a number of circuits hosting races on two consecutive weekends, to maximize the number of rounds held, and minimize logistical complications. The races planned in Europe will all be held behind closed doors, with no fans or media present, and a very restricted number of paddock staff present.
Dorna today issued the following press release, containing a letter from CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, concerning their ongoing plans for the 2020 season:
Letter from Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta
Friday, 20 March 2020
Today, the OR Thailand Grand Prix was set to be getting underway in Buriram; the race weekend that was meant to be the second of the season. The entire MotoGP™ paddock and family was supposed to be doing what we love the most: racing. We would have loved to watch the riders from each category fighting it out on track and delighting us to another last corner battle like we’ve come to expect from Buriram.
We would have loved to see the many international members of the paddock back hard at work for our fans; both those who travel from all over the world to join us trackside in Thailand and those who, like they do every race weekend, follow us faithfully from every corner of the globe.
The ongoing outbreak of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, has forced yet another change to the MotoGP calendar for 2020. Due to the restrictions on movement imposed in Italy, in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus, the US round of MotoGP at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, has been postponed until November.
The MotoGP paddock will gather in Austin on November 15th, instead of April 5th. November 15th was originally the date planned for the final round of MotoGP in Valencia, but to make way for Austin, Valencia has been pushed back a week, and will now be held on the weekend of November 22nd.
That means that as of today, March 10th, the MotoGP class will kick off their season at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina on April 19th, with the paddock returning to Europe two weeks later for Jerez.
Pramac Racing is one of many Italian teams in the MotoGP paddock. Owned by Paolo Campinoti, but managed by the charismatic Francesco Guidotti, son of a rider scout and the brother of Giacomo Guidotti, crew chief of LCR Honda rider Takaaki Nakagami. From his home in Pesaro, Italy, Guidotti has to manage the satellite Ducati team’s next steps, unable to enter Qatar, as the Gulf state has barred entry to everyone from Italy.
But he still has to deal with problems presented by the disruption at the start of the season. And almost 24 hours after the Qatar race for the top class was canceled, Guidotti still has a lot of questions as yet unanswered.
“I really don't know," Guidotti said. "We have never been in a situation like this and we don't know yet how much we are going to get from this situation, It all needs to be figured out, as a situation like that has never happened before. We have a big question mark, a race that was completely canceled that has never happened to us. We started the weekend, ran practice and qualifying, we did qualifying but then missed the race. But like this without even going, without getting there, this has never happened to me so I have no experience."
"It happened a few years ago with Fukushima [ The 2011 Japanese round was postponed following the April 2011 Fukushima earthquake which caused severe damage in the area], but I was in World Superbikes at the time. I don't know how it was managed, but the race was postponed, and it was something somehow planned to go not there. It wasn't 2 days before when everybody was ready to travel. It's something to discuss and understand.”
The cancellation of the Qatar MotoGP race and the Thai round of MotoGP in Buriram throws MotoGP's regular schedule into a bit of disarray. The deadlines under which the MotoGP manufacturers were working have suddenly been opened up again. Factories without concessions – Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and Ducati – were due to homologate their engines this week, ahead of the first race, and all six manufacturers were due to submit their aerodynamics packages for homologation, although aerodynamics packages can vary per rider.
Similarly, teams were due to submit their gearbox ratios ahead of the first race, with a maximum of 24 different gearbox ratios and 4 different final drive ratios allowed during the season.
So now that Qatar and Thailand have been canceled or postponed, what happens next?
The start of the 2020 MotoGP season has been delayed even further, with Dorna, the FIM, and IRT forced to postpone the Thailand round of MotoGP in Buriram. The decision was imposed on Dorna and the FIM by the Thai government, who took the decision to cancel the event due to be held on March 22nd.
The announcement did not come as a surprise. Reports that Thailand would be canceled emerged after the cancellation of the MotoGP race at Qatar last night. The difference with Qatar, however, is that no racing will take place at Buriram in three weeks' time, whereas in Qatar, Moto2 and Moto3 are still due to race this weekend, the Moto2 and Moto3 teams and riders already present at the track for the test held last weekend.
The Grand Prix of Thailand is to go ahead at the Buriram circuit as planned. Today, the FIM, IRTA, and Dorna issued a press release announcing that the Sports Authority of Thailand, the authority overseeing all sporting events in the Southeast Asian country, confirmed that the COVID-19 virus will not be a problem for the race, and it was safe to travel to Thailand.
The confirmation is good news for Thailand, but raises an issue with entry to the US for the race at the Circuit of The Americas. There have been reports that US Border Patrol has been refusing entry to travelers who have visited Thailand recently. However, unless the US Government issues official advice concerning travel from Southeast Asian countries, preparations will continue as normal.
The official press release appears below:
OR Grand Prix of Thailand will go ahead
The Sports Authority of Thailand confirms that the event, set for mid-March, can safely take place
There was a flurry excitement in the MotoGP media after the Chinese round of the F1 series in Shanghai was postponed due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus, as the corona virus has been officially named. The excitement concerned the MotoGP race in Thailand, at the Buriram circuit, due to take place on 22nd March. Would the second race of the season be able to go ahead?
The answer to that question is the same now as it was nearly a month ago: yes, the Thai GP in Buriram will go ahead as planned, unless the situation changes, and governments issue official warnings against traveling to Thailand.