Racing Creeps Closer: Spain To Drop Quarantine Restrictions, Japan Ends State Of Emergency

The good news was that Dorna had submitted a plan to hold two races in Jerez on the 19th and 26th July, and that the authorities in Andalusia and the city of Jerez had supported the plan. But many obstacles remained in the path to turning the plan into reality. Now, nearly three weeks later, those obstacles are starting to disappear.

The biggest obstacle was removed on Monday, when the Spanish government announced that the enforced quarantine on anyone entering the country would be lifted from July 1st. The quarantine on entry was one of the major complications for the race in Jerez, as it would mean anyone entering from outside Spain - including engineers from Japan, Italy, and Austria, mechanics from many places around the world, and of course, riders - would have had to self isolate for 14 days on arriving in Spain, before traveling on to Jerez.

Dorna and IRTA had already planned to have everyone travel fourteen days earlier, but that could have made the situation more complicated. Different countries around the world are at different stages in their restrictions, with Brad and Darryn Binder, for example, still in South Africa, where international flights have been stopped altogether.

The chances of quarantine ending are looking very good. Spain has already announced an easing of restrictions, with various regions moving into a different phase in the lockdown exit strategy on Monday, although gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned. On Saturday, the Spanish prime minister announced that the two top divisions of Spanish soccer league La Liga could resume matches behind closed doors from June 8th, with the first match scheduled to be played on June 11th.

Significant obstacles remain, however. Despite the Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe announcing the state of emergency would be lifted in the last five provinces where it was still in force, travel restrictions remain in place. Japanese nationals have to self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in Japan, though no restrictions apply on leaving. However, it would make returning to Japan between races almost impossible.

In practice, that would mean that Japanese engineers would be away from home and their families for perhaps six months at a time. This seems like too much to ask of their employees, and the Japanese factories are believed to be looking for a solution to this problem.

For the moment, however, progress is being made on a resumption of racing. IRTA president and Tech3 team boss Hervé Poncharal told the MotoGP Round Table podcast that there will be a test on Wednesday 15th July before racing resumes at Jerez, with all three Grand Prix classes getting two sessions to get back up to speed before the first of two rounds at Jerez, on the 19th and 26th.

No firm plans have been made for the rest of the season, though a new calendar is expected in a week or so. The MotoGP season will be somewhere between 12 and 16 races, depending on whether any of the races outside Europe can happen. Those races will depend on whether fans can attend, although the possibility of another race at Qatar remains. Buriram and Sepang look the most likely candidates, while Motegi will probably be dropped, and Phillip Island looks like it will be impossible to organize, given the current restrictions in Australia. Races will be back-to-back at a limited number of circuits, with fans and media likely to be excluded.

But the viability of these plans still remains out of Dorna and IRTA's hands. They still have to be given the approval of national governments, which is not a given. The F1 championship was planning to start its season at the Red Bull Ring in Austria, but so far, its plans have yet to be given approval, raising concerns over whether those races will be able to happen.

In summary, there seems to be more room for optimism over a return to racing. But that optimism still needs to be laced with a dose of pessimism.

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Comments

Racing? RACING? When more than 344,000 people are dead due to this pandemic? Anyone is talking about who is the fastest going round and round on a race track. Really?

Guess money means more than living, huh?

You're right, but a huge chunk of what we do, as a species, is pointless, isn't it. Does coffee taste better with a love heart pattern of cocoa powder on top? Is a sweat shirt better if it has a riders logo on it? Does it really matter one iota that this person can run 100 metres 0.05 seconds faster than anyone else in the world, or that the tiles on the bathroom wall go particularly well with the flooring? The answer to these and all other similar questions is both yes and no. We can survive perfectly well without any of these things but they make the difference between just existing and living and all of us have our preferred array of things we value. Motorsport is just another one of those things. I don't think there's any hierarchy of frivolity here, it's no more important to be able to redecorate the bathroom than it is to be able to buy coriander in the supermarket, or watch 22 men or women kick a ball up and down a field, or watch a couple of dozen people go round and round a circuit very fast. Yes, money is an important part of all of these, almost everything is monetised, but none of them would happen if we didn't want them.

For me, despite having real concerns that the easing of restrictions may come back and bite us on the bum, if we're going to resume life-enhancing activities there's no reason why bike sport shouldn't be one of them.

I'd agree with that, I'm concerned as well, my guess is this will go round the world in waves for some time.

So we have to find new ways of doing things, this is part of that, I hope it succeeds with the right balance of risks. And lets not forget, the whole of life is about the informed balance and understanding of risks, those who don't understand that can fall into one of two categories; the wreckless or the paranoid.

what do you want ? ?? it's  about  keeping the sport  alive, 
my  buddy   lost  2 family members to  covid.19  the thing  he said  was just go forward, this is out off our hands and  beyond 

the whole world is is in a shutdown everything that can give some  kind off feel to  look foreward we should be gratefull that we finaly have something again to look  forward .
 

r.i.p to the people  we lost worldwide 

 

 

 

Counterpoint: Not racing won't bring any of those people back. If health and safety precautions are in place, governments give permission, and fans are unable to attend in person; what is your objection?

Going back to racing, or any other activity for that matter, as soon as possible is a way of celebrating the fact that humanity has left the worst of this tragedy behind, and also a way of showing those who depend on said activities to make a living that they're still going to be able to provide for their families, that their lives also matter. 

But that's just my opinion.

This was a good exchange of perspectives comrades. I think it is possible to both be planning a return to racing and to be doing so with a respect for the enormous losses the world has sustained and the continued risk that surrounds us. But of course to return without some level of near certainty of controlled risk is certainly unthinkably stupid. I think there is a balance in the position here, and the respect for the loss can be reflected in the cautious nature of a return to a rewarding and life affirming diversion.

As for Lilyvani's contribution; well that was some pretty high end prose. The 'hierarch of frivolity'is a phrase that is going to stay with me for a very long time.

Even at it's peak, COVID barely surpassed the flu for the number of deaths per day.  Even teh two combined are small factors in why 150,000 people die each day.  Heart disease is the number one killer so perhaps if teh world put the effort that we did to fight COVID into providing quality food and promoting exercise we could save a lot more lives, or at least postpone death.  

 Death is sad but people die, everyone dies and COVID is just another cause.  

None of us know when 'its peak' is. That depends where you live and future progress on immunity, treatment, or vaccine, or worse still, whether it mutates. A hundred years ago the infuenza pandemic (unfairly and incorrectly called the Spanish Flu) was at its most deadly the third time it went around the world. I'm afraid its far to early to make calls like 'its past its peak'.

Bearing this in mind, I do support the carefully considered and mitigated restart of sport and other aspects of life wherever possible.

Sadly there are already places where there is a "rebote" ( more cases ) after the loosening of restrictions ( Marina Baixa  , including Benidorm , has more than 100 ) so don't asume this is over .