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No MotoGP In June? Germany And The Netherlands Announce Bans On Events Through End Of August

The 2020 world championship motorcycle racing calendar continues to slide due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On Tuesday evening, it became apparent that there will be no racing in either MotoGP or WorldSBK before the end of June. After last Wednesday's announcement by German Chancellor Angela Merkel that large-scale events would be banned in Germany through August 31st, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte extended the ban on large-scale events in The Netherlands to September 1st.

These two announcements have a direct bearing on the WorldSBK and MotoGP calendars. Officially, the next two MotoGP races are at the Sachsenring on June 21st, and Assen on June 28th. Those races will now have to be either postponed or rescheduled until after August 31st.

The announcements also mean that the WorldSBK races will have to be rescheduled. The German round was due to be held at Motorsport Arena Oschersleben from July 31st to August 2nd. The Dutch round of World Superbikes had already been rescheduled from mid-April to August 21st to 23rd.

That round will now have to be rescheduled once again, though finding a slot in an increasingly crowded calendar will be difficult. The Assen circuit has the German DTM touring car championship scheduled for the first weekend of September, then the British Superbike championship weekend set for the weekend of September 20th.

The track has its two other biggest events - the Truckstar Festival and the Gamma Racing Day, both of which draw crowds in the tens of thousands - set for July and August. The Truckstar Festival has already been canceled, but if the Gamma Racing Day is rescheduled, that would put pressure on an already packed program.

Motorcycle racing is possible at Assen through October, given the climate. Racing at the Sachsenring or Oschersleben would be better done in September than in October, with the risk of a cold snap making it too cold to hold practice safely.

Dorna is making plans to hold events behind closed doors, if conditions permit. These events would see a skeleton crew of between 1,000 and 1,200 people in the paddock to run the event, including riders, the minimum number of team staff, and the bare minimum of race officials and Dorna organizational and TV staff. But such a set up would not be allowed in The Netherlands, at least, as current measures put in place to counter the coronavirus outbreak prohibit any gatherings of people outside of essential services.

So far, the FIM and Dorna have yet to make an official announcement about the postponement or rescheduling of the races in Germany and The Netherlands. That announcement is likely to come at the end of this week, once they have had time to discuss with the circuits in question.

With the Sachsenring and Assen canceled, the next world championship event on the calendar is WorldSBK at Donington Park, due to be held from July 3rd-5th. Currently, restrictions put in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus will last until at least the first week in May, but the UK government has made it clear they expect to have to extend that period beyond that.

For MotoGP, the next officially scheduled race would be at the Kymiring in Finland. But that circuit has still not officially been homologated, a process which is being hampered by the fact that FIM safety officer Franco Uncini is in Italy, and unable to leave.

The earliest racing might reasonably be expected is August. The Czech MotoGP round at Brno would be the obvious place to start, but the Czech Republic has declared a state of emergency and banned all travel into the country. That ban will be in place until the state of emergency ends, but the current expectation is it could last well through the summer.

That would put Austria as the likely candidate for the first MotoGP race. Austria is starting to slowly lift the restrictions it placed to counter the COVID-19 outbreak. An event behind closed doors might be possible in mid-August, something which the F1 series is also contemplating in July.

However, huge obstacles remain. The Schengen Area inside the EU - which contains most of the European countries which are due to host MotoGP and WorldSBK - remains closed to non-EU citizens until May 15th at the earliest. Given the large number of non-EU nationals working in MotoGP - including a significant number of riders - any race would be impossible until that ban is lifted, at least.

In the end, it is still too early to say when the first MotoGP or WorldSBK event might take place. At this moment in time, too much depends on a whole range of national, regional, and international governments and authorities. Until restrictions start to be lifted on an international scale, the obstacles to a return to racing will remain insurmountable.

 

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Alex Rins Extends Contract With Suzuki Through 2022

In a welcome diversion from the ongoing onslaught of COVID-19-related news, the Suzuki Ecstar team have announced that they have signed Alex Rins for a further two seasons, meaning that the Spaniard will be riding for the team in the 2021 and 2022 MotoGP seasons, such as they may be.

The only thing about the news is perhaps the timing, in the middle of the COVID-19 lockdown. It has been clear for a while that both Rins and Suzuki were treating each other as their first priority in contract negotiations. Suzuki has made no secret of wanting to hang on to both of its current riders, and with Rins having won the races at Austin and Silverstone last year, Suzuki's first victories since Maverick Viñales' win at Silverstone in 2016.

The next target for Suzuki will be to try to extend with Joan Mir. Mir had an impressive season as a rookie, and has sparked some interest from other factories, but the best option for the Spaniard is likely to stay put.

Rins' signing brings the total rider signings for 2021 to five. Below are the riders with contracts so far:

Rider Bike Contract until
Monster Energy Yamaha
Maverick Viñales Yamaha M1 2022
Fabio Quartararo Yamaha M1 2022
     
     
Repsol Honda
Marc Márquez Honda RC213V 2024
     
     
Suzuki Ecstar
Alex Rins Suzuki GSX-RR 2022
     
     
Avintia Ducati
Tito Rabat Ducati 2021

The Suzuki press release appears below:


SUZUKI AND ALEX RINS EXTEND THEIR PARTNERSHIP FOR 2021 AND 2022

Team Suzuki Press Office – Sunday, April 19.

Alex Rins will remain an official MotoGP rider for Team Suzuki MotoGP for the 2021 and 2022 seasons. The renewal of the contract between Suzuki Racing Company, a branch of Suzuki Motor Corporation, and the 24-year-old Spaniard arrives during a very peculiar moment in history, as the 2020 World Championship has been unable to start due to the exceptional situation of the Covid-19 crisis. But this contract renewal confirms that Suzuki, the Team, and the Rider are all thinking about the future and focused on achieving even better results.

Alex Rins joined Team Suzuki Ecstar in 2017, making his debut in the MotoGP class. His first year was marked by a severe injury at the beginning of the season, but Rins recovered strongly and didn’t take long to show his true potential with consistent races in the second half of the year. Alex built on his experience and continued his growth throughout 2018, this saw him take his first MotoGP podium in Argentina, with third place.

The 2019 season rightfully placed him among the top Championship contenders, with consistent race results in the Top 5 and two outstanding victories: at the Texas GP and in Silverstone.

The 2020 pre-season tests showed great potential and a good level of feeling between Rins and the upgraded Suzuki GSX-RR, but the results are still to come due to the stand-by situation that is affecting the 2020 MotoGP World Championship.

Shinichi Sahara – Project Leader:

“This renewal of two more years with Alex Rins makes me and Suzuki very proud because it represents a building block in our project to grow young riders and progress alongside them. With this extension, we have stayed with a young, talented, determined and fast rider like Alex for a total of 6 years, and this is exactly what we aimed for when we signed him the first time in 2017. He has grown a lot, and with him also his crew and the whole team has grown too. We’ve achieved podiums and victories, and I feel that the best is still yet to come. Unfortunately, the situation now doesn’t allow us to prove under race conditions all the progress that we’ve made or the results I believe we are capable of, but this Coronavirus situation is new for everyone and we need to adapt. For sure we are remaining upbeat, and this agreement confirms that we are always thinking of the future with optimism and positivity.”

Davide Brivio:

“We are very happy to confirm Alex Rins as a Factory Rider of Team Suzuki MotoGP for two more seasons; 2021 and 2022. With this agreement we take our relationship to 6 years, and we believe that this stability will prove positive for all of us. I must say that this agreement was just awaiting a ‘stamp’ on it, because both Suzuki and Alex had the will to continue together and a basic agreement for the continuation was already achieved months ago. So now that everything is done we can finally proudly announce it. As a team our aim is to keep the whole working group together and become even stronger, we had a fantastic end of the season last year and this is the starting point we want to rely on when we will be able to start racing again.”

Alex Rins:

“My wish was to continue with Suzuki and finally this is what I did. I believe that the project has the potential to be a winning one, I have the desire to win, and so we match perfectly. It’s the perfect place for me, and we are working hard all together to get big results. I have always believed in the team and for this reason it was easy to get to the basic agreement very early on. Then we took some time to finalise the details and follow all the internal processes.

Now we have to understand what’s going to happen with the 2020 season, we are ready to compete at the maximum level, as we already showed in the pre-season tests. In this very moment the whole world is facing an unexpected situation that affects pretty much all countries and we need to be patient and see how it evolves. We will make ourselves ready for when we will be called to start racing, whenever this will happen. Dorna is doing all they can to allow us to compete, but they are of course taking into account what matters most; the safety and health of people. We can only stay ready and wait to be told when we can start, and in the meantime focus on training.”

To watch the livestream on Instagram: @SUZUKIMOTOGP: CLICK HERE

#SuzukiStaySafe #RidersAtHome #StayAtHome

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Racing Behind Closed Doors With A Skeleton Crew – One Option For Resuming Racing

While the COVID-19 pandemic holds the world firmly in its grip, Dorna continues to examine options for returning to racing once that becomes possible. Although any decision on when racing is possible is entirely out of Dorna's hands, they are still drawing up plans for a range of options for when the current round of global lockdowns and travel restrictions end.

One option Dorna is considering is holding races behind closed doors, with an absolute minimum of staff present. A leaked email, which started circulating on Wednesday, asked the teams to provide a list of the minimum required members of staff they would need to run a race. The request explicitly excluded hospitality and PR staff, as the aim is to only allow team members who are essential to the task of racing.

Does this mean that Dorna believe this is the only way MotoGP and WorldSBK will be able to go racing again? Not at all. When contacted by email, IRTA CEO Mike Trimby explained that the purpose of the email being sent was to be prepared for all possible situations in the future.

"Clearly, we are exploring all options but every one depends on what restrictions are removed on travel and mass gatherings. And such restrictions will vary from country to country," Trimby said.

"The purpose of the survey sent to teams was to establish the minimum numbers of people that we would need to safely run an event behind closed doors," Trimby explained. "Having that information would enable us to move quickly to provide genuine information to promoters or governments if an opportunity was to arise." The option of racing behind closed doors was not the only one being investigated by Dorna, but it could be the best chance of racing again, at least in the short term, Trimby said.

Even holding races behind closed doors would be difficult, however. The minimum number of people required to just hold races in all three Grand Prix classes is somewhere between 1000 and 1500. Those people have to travel from many different countries, the most important being Spain, Andorra, Italy, Japan, France, Austria, Sweden, Germany, and the United Kingdom, as the bases for most teams, manufacturers, tire suppliers, suspension makers, and of course IRTA themselves. The riders themselves come from 19 different nations, though riders from South Africa, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Argentina have bases in Europe for a large part of the season anyway.

Those 1000-1500 people would all have to travel to any race being held, either by commercial flight, car, bus, or train, which would require international flights to start operating again and borders to open up again. They would also have to find somewhere to stay, which would require hotels to be open.

Most importantly of all, governments would have to believe that such events could be held without the risk of someone involved in the sport carrying the virus without knowing it and sparking another round of infections. Preventing that might require all sorts of preventative measures, including testing and contact tracing.

Alongside this plan, Dorna continues to liaise with IRTA, the FIM, and the MSMA about other options. At the moment, all Dorna can do is draw up plans to deal with the many different scenarios they may face. That includes racing behind closed doors, but also calendars starting in July, August, September, and October, and trying to work out with circuits when the series could race there at different points in the year.

Making plans for a world championship motorcycle racing season is like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle with half of the pieces missing. It will get easier once we get a clearer picture of how the COVID-19 outbreak is developing, and as countries coordinate on strategies for containing and eventually eradicating the disease.

Below is the email sent by IRTA to all of the teams:


Dear All,

I hope that you, your staff and your families are keeping well during these difficult times.

You will have seen that, unfortunately, Dorna have already had to announce the postponement of several events and, with some, it has not been possible to confirm a new date for the events.

Dorna are working hard to secure new dates but are constrained by not being able to forecast when governments will reduce restrictions on travel or mass gatherings of people. Accordingly, one option being investigated by Dorna is the possibility of holding some events “behind closed doors”. This means no spectators and also no team guests, including sponsors with permanent passes.

To get government approval for such events it would be necessary to indicate to governments the number of people required to put on an event and, most likely, their nationalities and from which country they would be arriving.

We are attaching a form which I ask you to complete and return as an Email attachment as soon as possible. You should list on that form details of the very minimum staff that you would need at a closed-door event in Europe to safely run the races.

As only working trucks will be admitted you do not need to include hospitality staff or workers involved in their setting up. Other staff not deemed vital would include PR and media staff and perhaps some management personnel. Many of these could operate from their home bases whilst maintaining live links with staff at the circuit.

We have indicated on the forms that number of staff that we consider to be the absolute maximum for the class. That should not be taken as an “allowance” and you should enter your own, realistic figures.

We are obviously aware that in the Moto3 and Moto2 classes some teams operate with riders in both classes. Those teams should please complete a form for each class.

If you have any queries on this matter then please do not hesitate to contact me.

Best regards,

Mike Trimby


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Grand Prix Commission Freezes Development For 2020 and 2021 MotoGP Seasons

With the COVID-19 outbreak wreaking havoc on the 2020 motorcycle racing season and the global economy, the Grand Prix Commission, MotoGP's rule-making body, have announced a raft of measures aimed at cutting costs.

The most significant change, already widely trailed, is that development of engines and aerodynamics is to be frozen for the rest of this year. What that means in practice is that all six MotoGP factories  (Aprilia, Ducati, Honda, KTM, Suzuki, and Yamaha) will have to race in 2020 with the engines they submitted for homologation in March of this year. Normally, concession factories (Aprilia and KTM) would be allowed to develop their engines during the season, but to cut costs, that development has been banned for this season.

In addition, the GPC agreed that the MotoGP manufacturers without concessions (Ducati, Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha) will have to start the 2021 MotoGP season with their 2020 engines. This means that their engine designs will remain unchanged for any races which may occur in 2020, and for all of the 2021 season.

In terms of aerodynamics, all factories will have to use the aero package homologated for use in March for the 2020 season, and start the 2021 season with that package. They will then be allowed one upgrade for the 2021 season, as normal.

The Grand Prix Commission have imposed even greater restrictions on the Moto2 and Moto3 classes. All development is frozen for those classes in both 2020 and 2021. Given the much smaller budgets for the Moto2 and Moto3 teams, and the involvement of small manufacturers such as Kalex, Speed Up, and NTS in Moto2, that makes much more sense.

Additionally, the Grand Prix Commission banned in Moto2 and Moto3 the ride-height altering devices from which are just now starting to appear in MotoGP. Since the switch to Moto2 and Moto3, those classes have been regarded as steps on the ladder toward MotoGP, and so technical restrictions have been put in place to put the focus on rider development rather than technology. Banning ride-height altering devices - which would include the holeshot devices used by most MotoGP manufacturers now - makes sense in this context. This ban extends indefinitely, and is not limited to either 2020 or 2021.

The press release containing the revised rules for 2020 and 2021 appears below:


FIM Grand Prix World Championship
Decision of the Grand Prix Commission

The Grand Prix Commission, composed of Messrs. Carmelo Ezpeleta (Dorna, Chairman), Paul Duparc (FIM), Herve Poncharal (IRTA) and Takanao Tsubouchi (MSMA), in the presence of Jorge Viegas (FIM President), Corrado Cecchinelli (Director of Technology) Carlos Ezpeleta (Dorna) and Mike Trimby (IRTA, Secretary of the meeting), in an electronic meeting held on 15th April 2020, made the following decisions:

Technical Regulations

In view of the Covid-19 global crisis, and following various conversations with manufacturers and teams in all classes, the GPC has approved the following technical proposals.

These are all aimed at reducing costs globally in all three classes for both manufacturers and teams, whilst maintaining fairness and equality in order to conserve both the entertainment value of the sport and the integrity of the competition.

MOTOGP CLASS:

Currently, all manufacturers that don’t qualify for concessions have to homologate an engine specification for the whole season. Manufacturers are allowed to homologate a different specification for riders in Independent teams.

Until now, manufacturers with concessions didn’t have this limitation and could change specification during the year.

In addition, all manufacturers were allowed two aero body designs per rider per season; the one they started with at Qatar plus one upgrade.

The GPC has approved the following changes, effective immediately:

2020 SEASON:

There will be no update of any homologated parts during the 2020 season. This applies to all manufacturers, both Non-Concession and Concession.

2021 SEASON:

Both Non-Concession and Concession manufacturers must start the 2021 season using March 2020 homologated parts. Thereafter, normal upgrade regulations will apply for the rest of the 2021 season as per current regulations meaning no engine evolution for non-concession manufacturers and only one aero-body update per rider for all manufacturers.

For the first event of 2021 riders will be allowed to choose between any engine or aero-body specification that the manufacturer homologated in 2020.

MOTO2 CLASS:

The organisers supply all Moto2 Class riders with equal Triumph 765cc engines.

Until now, the only limitation in terms of allocations of technical parts was the allowance of one upgrade to the Aero Body per manufacturer.

The GPC has approved the following changes, effective immediately:

AERO BODY:

The current 2020 Aero Bodies as homologated by the chassis manufacturers at the 2020 Qatar GP, plus any version homologated in 2019, will be frozen until the end of the 2021 season. No further upgrades are permitted.

FRAME AND SWINGARM:

Each chassis manufacturer may submit any current or previously used frame or swingarm for homologation. These designs will be frozen until the end of the 2021 season, with no further specifications permitted.

Each Team will then be required to declare a maximum of 2 specifications of frame and swingarm per rider from their chassis manufacturer homologation list. Any replacement or substitute rider will be required to use only the declared parts for the rider they are replacing.

MOTO3 CLASS:

Currently in the Moto3 class, the manufacturers must provide all their riders with the same full bike.

Until now, riders were allowed to choose 2 gear ratios per season.

The GPC has approved the following changes effective immediately:

Bike specification, as declared by each manufacturer at the Qatar GP 2020, will be frozen for the 2020 and the 2021 seasons, meaning no further upgrades will be permitted on any listed performance parts, chassis, swingarm, engine, aero body, gearbox or throttle body.

The GPC has also approved the number of engines each rider is allowed to use with respect to possible revised calendars for both 2020 and 2021. These will be published within the revised regulations.

MOTO2 AND MOTO3 CLASSES:

RIDE HEIGHT DEVICES BANNED

Ride height devices, to aid the rider during the start of the race, are permitted within the current rules for MotoGP. However, due to possible high development cost that these devices could require, it is felt that this technology does not fit within the ethos of both Moto3 and Moto2 of a cost-effective championship. Therefore, the such technology is banned for these two categories, with immediate effect.

The use of any device that modifies or adjusts the motorcycle’s ride height while it is moving is forbidden.

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Decision On French MotoGP Round Due To Be Taken By May 15th

When the COVID-19 pandemic first forced Dorna to start moving races, they postponed them to later in the year. First Thailand, then Austin, and finally Argentina were moved to new slots in October and November. But when it became clear that Jerez and Le Mans could not take place on their planned dates, those races were postponed indefinitely, with no new date given for when they might be held.

Now, the first signs of races being canceled are appearing. Today, the promoter of the French Grand Prix announced that they hope to make a decision on the fate of the Le Mans race by May 15th, the date that would have been the first day of practice for the French Grand Prix had it not been postponed.

That date was also chosen because by then, the situation in France should be clearer. On Easter Monday, April 13th, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that the government intended to start lifting restrictions imposed in France because of the coronavirus outbreak after May 11th. Once that happens, it may prove possible to find a date later in the year for the race to be held.

But the announcement also implicitly hinted that the race could be canceled. They hoped, the statement said, that the race would merely be postponed. However, the Le Mans circuit already has a packed schedule, with the endurance calendar already rescheduled for later in the year. It may not prove possible to find a slot for a rescheduled MotoGP race inside of a window where the climate would allow racing to take place.

With countries throughout Europe starting to consider lifting restrictions, we are drawing closer to a moment where decisions on the future of races can be made, rather than just indefinite postponements. But even then, such decisions are at least a month away, as in the case of Le Mans. For the moment, we must continue to wait.

Below is the (translated) press release by the promoter of the French Grand Prix. The PDF of the original can be found on the promoter's website:


The postponement of the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France 2020 is still under study.

First, we hope that you and your loved ones are in good health and wish you the best for the days and weeks to come.

In light of the current health situation which is constantly evolving and government announcements on Monday 13 April, the postponement of the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France 2020 remains to this day a possibility.

We fully understand the impatience of everyone regarding this situation. We hope, under the aegis of the FIM and Dorna, to be able to take a decision by May 15, thus allowing us to meet the expectations of our loyal spectators.

Until this decision has been taken, tickets will remain valid, and terms for reimbursement can only be presented once the date of postponement is known and communicated.

We thank everyone involved in the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France for their understanding.

Take good care of yourself and your loved ones.

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2020 WorldSBK Calendar Updated: Aragon, Misano Postponed, Imola canceled

The next wave of rolling race postponements due to the current COVID-19 pandemic has hit. Today, the FIM announced that the next three rounds of WorldSBK, at Imola, Aragon, and Misano, have been either moved or canceled. The WorldSBK grid is now due to assemble again at the UK round of WorldSBK, at Donington Park, from 3-5 July.

That the rounds in Italy and Spain should be affected is hardly a surprise. Although recent trends in infections and deaths from the coronavirus outbreak are looking positive for both countries, they are both still a long way from a return to normality. With the Imola and Misano rounds to be held in the middle of some of the hardest hit regions in Italy, they were unlikely to go ahead as planned.

The rescheduling has forced the Imola round of WorldSBK to be dropped entirely. Finding a date for the round with good enough weather proved to be too difficult, WorldSBK boss Gregorio Lavilla explained to the WorldSBK website. "With the already complex calendar forecasted today and the weather situation we may face going even later in the year, we agreed with the circuit that it is better to cancel," Lavilla said.

With Aragon moved to 28-30 August, and Misano now the final round of the 2020 season, on 6-8 November, the latter half of the year is packed. There is a four-week gap between Donington and the German round at Oschersleben, and then three weeks until the next race, the rescheduled Dutch round at Assen. That is the start of a triple header, with the WorldSBK series going from Assen to Aragon to Portimao.

From there, a weekend off before heading to Barcelona, then another free weekend before Magny-Cours. From Magny-Cours, the WorldSBK paddock flies straight to Argentina for the race at San Juan Villicum the next weekend. After a weekend off, the paddock returns at Jerez, then another weekend off before heading to the final round at Misano.

The series still has to find a space to slot in the rescheduled round at Qatar. That cannot happen too early, as the circuit is due to be resurfaced this year.

Of course, all of these calendar updates remain provisional. Control of the calendar is not in the hands of Dorna, the FIM, or anyone else. First, extensive travel restrictions have to be lifted, and the ban on mass events in most countries eased. Although the situation around Europe, where most of the races are due to be held, is improving, normality is still a long way off. Additionally, any resurgence in the disease could force the calendar to be rescheduled further.

The press release from the FIM appears below:


MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship/FIM Supersport and Supersport 300 World Championships
2020 Provisional calendar, UPDATE: 14 April

With a forced stop in place due to continual coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, further changes have been made to the 2020 MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship calendar.

With the ongoing fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, The FIM, Government Officials, Circuits & Dorna WSBK Organization informs of further changes needed to be made to the 2020 WorldSBK Calendar, with rounds being rescheduled & regrettably, cancelled.

RESCHEDULED:

  • Aragon Round (previously 22–24 May) rescheduled 28–30 August.
  • Riviera Di Rimini Round (previously 12–14 June) rescheduled 6– 8 November.

CANCELLED:

  • Acerbis Italian Round (previously 8–10 May)

The FIM and Dorna WSBK Organization will continue working extensively with Government Officials and Circuits, analysing the situation in every country with great detail.

However, it is with regret that after a range of scenarios being discussed and reviewed and in agreement with Circuit Officials, that the Acerbis Italian Round at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari has been cancelled.

Information will be communicated accordingly if further changes to the 2020 Calendar are made.

Date Country Circuit WorldSBK WorldSSP WorldSSP300
28 Feb – 1 March Australia Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit X X  
13 – 15 March Qatar Losail International Circuit* X X  
3 - 5 July United Kingdom Donington Park X X X
31 July - 2 August Germany Motorsport Arena Oschersleben X X X
21 - 23 August The Netherlands TT Circuit Assen X X X
28 - 30 August Spain MotorLand Aragón X X X
4 - 6 September Portugal Autódromo Internacional do Algarve X X X
18 - 20 September Spain Circuit de Barcelona - Catalunya X X X
2 - 4 October France Circuit de Nevers Magny-Cours X X X
9 – 11 October Argentina Circuito San Juan Villicum X X  
23 - 25 October Spain Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto X X X
6 - 8 November Italy Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” X X X

*Postponed

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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.

This is just one more in a rolling series of postponements, as Dorna and the FIM wait for the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak to run its course and settle into more predictable waters. That is why the races have not been rescheduled on new dates. Those dates are just as likely to change as things stand at the current moment.

The press release from Dorna appears below:


Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley and Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya postponed

Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the two events have been postponed

Tuesday, 07 April 2020

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley and Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya, which were set to be held at the Autodromo del Mugello from the 29th to the 31st of May and at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya from the 5th to the 7th of June, respectively. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the two events to be rescheduled.

As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for these Grands Prix, as well as the recently-postponed French and Spanish GPs, cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events. A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.

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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.

Whether this was an accurate reflection of the verdict or just spin by Iannone's legal and PR team was impossible to know. The FIM had only issued a press release stating the verdict of the court: that drostanolone had been found in a urine sample taken after the race in Sepang, that a hearing had been held, and submissions made to the court, and that the verdict of the court was that Iannone was suspended for 18 months, from 17th December 2019 to 16th June 2021.

After the verdict was published, there were calls for the reasoning behind the verdict to be published, but the FIM has refrained from comment. There is a good reason for that: Iannone has 21 days from the verdict to lodge an appeal with the CAS, the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and until that time, the issue is still technically sub judice, and the FIM cannot say anything for fear of prejudicing any appeal that might happen.

But the FIM will provide much more openness on the Iannone case once the legal process has run its course, FIM president Jorge Viegas told Israeli journalist and TV commentator Tammy Gorali. In the course of a long interview, conducted remotely while Viegas was at his home in Portugal and to be published on MotoMatters.com later this month, Viegas promised transparency.

"At this moment, the FIM will not comment at all on the punishment of Mr. Andrea Iannone," Viegas told Gorali. "We have a commission of judges which is totally independent from the executive power of the FIM. The FIM is one of the parts in this, and in the whole anti-doping process."

"We have our lawyer that was involved in the process, and they have their lawyer. They went before the three judges from the commission. The judges asked for additional documents and evidence, and then they decided based on that. And now, in this moment, what happened is that we are in the time period during which the FIM, Mr. Iannone, or WADA can file an appeal with the CAS in Lausanne. So until this period ends, which is roughly a month, a bit less, nobody in the FIM is allowed to comment on the matter."

Despite not wanting to comment on the case, Viegas was at pains to point out that the FIM took doping very seriously, and that the CDI did not reach its verdict lightly. And the FIM president promised more transparency once the process was complete.

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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.

The Moto2 and Moto3 teams are also due to receive further support, beyond the €25,000 per rider they have been promised. Again, no details have been released, but given that without the teams, Dorna cannot organize a racing series, the amounts should be enough to at least guarantee their survival.

In the press release, Dorna emphasize that these payments were made with the support of the FIM and their investors, Bridgepoint Capital and CPPIB, the Canadian pension fund which holds a stake in Dorna. This should also not come as a surprise, as without the teams, Dorna cannot survive, and if Dorna does not survive, then its owners would have to write off an enormous investment and lose a lot of money.

So far, the announcements have only covered the Grand Prix paddock, and not World Superbikes. At some point, the WorldSBK teams will also need financial assistance to survive, though the sums involved should be far smaller. But at this point, no announcements have been made.

The press release from Dorna appears below:


COVID-19: financial support measures for teams announced

Friday, 03 April 2020

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak is affecting many people, industries and sports across the world, including the MotoGP™ World Championship.

With the agreement of the FIM and the full commitment from shareholders Bridgepoint Capital and CPP Investments, Dorna Sports is proud to be able to assure help for MotoGP™ Class Independent Teams through this difficult moment in the history of our sport, as well as teams in the Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes.

Through the International Road-Racing Teams Association, MotoGP™ Independent Teams will each receive considerable advance payments during the months of April, May and June, irrespective of whether activity is restarted or not. This is in order to guarantee the economic well-being of the Independent Teams and their staff, as well as to secure their subsistence for the future.

In addition, IRTA has already made payments to all Moto2™ and Moto3™ teams to support them during this difficult period. Further measures for the intermediate and lightweight class teams will be considered in due course.

As previously stated, Dorna Sports is working hard to try and ensure that this crisis leaves all those in the MotoGP™ World Championship with only one consequence; that of a modified calendar.

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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.

The press release announcing the postponement appears below:


SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France postponed

Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the event at Le Mans has been postponed

Thursday, 02 April 2020

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France, which was set to be held at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans from the 15th to the 17th of May. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the event to be rescheduled.

As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for the French GP and the recently-postponed Gran Premio Red Bull de España cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events. A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.

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