After Qatar blocked the entry of Italian and Japanese passport holders into the country, causing the MotoGP race (but not the round) to be rescheduled), it was inevitable that the WorldSBK round would follow suit. Today, Dorna and the FIM announced that they had to postpone the Qatar round of WorldSBK, pending further rescheduling.
If the situation was difficult for MotoGP, it was even worse for WorldSBK. Not only is Ducati competing in WorldSBK, but Pirelli, the official tire supplier, is Italian, and staffed entirely by Italians. The Pirelli tire fitters and engineers had all headed home to Italy after the opening round of WorldSBK at Phillip Island, with no possiblity to enter Qatar. Without tires, nobody can race.
The round is now due to be rescheduled, with a suggestion that the most likely time for the races to be held being the end of the year.
The press release from Dorna announcing the postponement of the Qatar round appears below:
Lauretana Water Qatar Round to be rescheduled
External travel restrictions force postponement of Round 2 of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship
The FIM and Dorna WSBK Organization regret to announce that the Lauretana Water Qatar Round of the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship is to be postponed until further notice.
As the global coronavirus outbreak continues, travel restrictions to Qatar have been enforced, primarily affecting passengers from Italy, amongst others. People arriving directly from the country or who have been in Italy in the past two weeks will be taken directly to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days.
Italian participation in WorldSBK – both on track and off – is vital, thus the decision has been taken to postpone the Lauretana Water Qatar Round until further notice.
Further updates will be published in due course.