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Andrea Dovizioso To Leave Ducati At The End Of 2020 - What Next In The MotoGP Rider Market?

Desmo Dovi is no more. The eight-year partnership between Andrea Dovizioso and Ducati Corse will come to an end when the flag falls after the last race of the 2020 MotoGP season.

The news was made official by Dovizioso's manager Simone Battistella, after a final meeting with Ducati management to try to agree terms. Battistella told broadcaster Sky Italia that they had been unable to find common ground to continue.

"We have told Ducati that Andrea does not intend to continue for the next years, that he now only wants to concentrate on the next races, but that the conditions to continue together don't exist," Battistella said. "He won't be leaving MotoGP, however, even if there are no negotiations currently happening with other teams. This has been a conclusion reached over the last period. Andrea feels much more calm now that he has taken this decision."

Shortly after the interview was broadcast, Ducati issued a statement by Ducati Corse Sporting Director Paolo Ciabatti via its social media channels. "We met Simone this morning here at Red Bull Ring, and realized that unfortunately, there are not the conditions to continue our relationship with Dovi beyond the end of the current contract," the statement read. "Ducati and Andrea will now fully concentrate on the remainder of the 2020 season, starting from tomorrow's Austrian GP, with the common goal to add more wins to the 13 first places already achieved together, and fight for the title until the end of the championship."

Long decline

The decision was the now seemingly inevitable outcome of the long deterioration of the relationship between Dovizioso and Ducati – and especially Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna – over the past couple of years. Dall'Igna felt that Dovizioso needed to push harder and get more out of the Desmosedici. Dovizioso felt that Dall'Igna was focusing solely on creating more horsepower, and fixing the last of the turning issues which have dogged the Ducati for 15 years or more, at least since the switch to the 800cc formula in 2007.

Things went downhill more quickly in the past couple of years, with Dovizioso and Dall'Igna no longer on speaking terms outside of brief work meetings. Dall'Igna believed Ducati had a bike to win the championship, but not the rider – a pattern which the signing of Jorge Lorenzo fits neatly into. Dovizioso believed he could be champion if it were not for Ducati's failure to give him the last piece of the puzzle, a bike which turned better, to help him win the title.

The final stumbling block appears to have been financial. Ducati had asked Dovizioso to take a pay cut for 2021, with reports that he was also being asked to accept a pay cut for the 2020 season as well, due to the financial effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Unsurprisingly, Dovizioso was not so inclined: the Italian had finished as runner up to a dominant Marc Márquez for the last three seasons, racked up 13 victories for Ducati, and been absolutely instrumental in helping to turn around Ducati's fortunes since his arrival in 2013, together with Gigi Dall'Igna.

Rider reshuffle

What happens next for Andrea Dovizioso? Paddock consensus is that he will join Aleix Espargaro at Aprilia. That makes a lot of sense from numerous perspectives. Aprilia want an Italian rider to enhance their status as an Italian brand. With the RS-GP now finally starting to look competitive, Aprilia need an experienced development rider, which Dovizioso unquestionably is. Aprilia are more desperate than Ducati for success, and so potentially have deeper pockets, at least in the short term.

It would also be a small piece of revenge for the Italian factory. At the end of 2013, Ducati poached then Aprilia Racing director Gigi Dall'Igna to lead their racing program. Eight years' later, Aprilia return the favor by tempting Andrea Dovizioso away from Ducati to help lead the development of the RS-GP.

If Dovizioso goes to Aprilia, that would leave Cal Crutchlow without a seat in MotoGP. That would be an issue for British broadcaster BT Sport, who want a British rider in the premier class, but there are no real candidates to ascend to MotoGP, nor attractive seats available.

Ducati's choices

In theory, Crutchlow could return to Ducati, but Ducati have shown no interest in seeing the British rider return. The more plausible explanation is that Ducati promote Pecco Bagnaia from the satellite Pramac squad, as they have done with Jack Miller. Ducati owns the contracts of the Pramac Ducati riders, and Pramac is very much the Ducati junior team, where they prepare talent for ascension into the factory squad.

If Bagnaia is promoted to the factory team, that would leave space in the Pramac squad for some experimentation by Ducati. Enea Bastianini's name has been mentioned a lot recently, as the Italian has impressed in Moto2. Bastianini could be one rider to be promoted to MotoGP in 2021. Luca Marini is another name which has been doing the rounds, the Sky VR46 rider having made a big step forward in the past couple of seasons.

Johann Zarco is another alternative, though the Frenchman is more likely to be placed in Pramac than in the factory squad. What Ducati are after is a rider to win a championship: Zarco has shown he can be competitive and score podiums on the Ducati, but there are lingering doubts that he can cope with the pressure of a factory team, after what happened in 2019 with the factory KTM squad.

Rumors continue to circulate about a possible return to Ducati by Jorge Lorenzo. It is hard to assess how much substance there is to the rumors. Ducati have politely talked around the rumors, without addressing them directly, and Jorge Lorenzo has gone quiet in recent weeks. But it is a popular proposal among pundits, as it generates a lot of debate and engagement.

Lorenzo is beloved by Ducati Corse boss Gigi Dall'Igna, but he faces opposition from Ducati CEO Claudio Domenicali. It was Domenicali's opposition that eventually forced Lorenzo out at the end of 2018.

A decision on Ducati's future line up will follow in a month or so, once Ducati have had a chance to digest the news that they have lost Dovizioso, and to weigh their options. "We will take some time to make some considerations, and in the next weeks, we will inform everybody," Davide Tardozzi told Simon Crafar on the MotoGP.com broadcast.


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Portimao Confirmed As 2020 MotoGP Season Finale

Dorna today confirmed what we had known for some time, that the last race of the 2020 season is to be held at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimao on the 22nd of November.

The addition of Portimao will bring the schedule up to a grand total of 15 rounds, with 14 for the MotoGP class, after the premier class was forced to miss out on the season opener at Qatar.

You can find the full 2020 MotoGP calendar here, and the press release from Dorna announcing the last round at Portimao below:


Portimão to host 2020 MotoGP™ season finale

The final race weekend of the season will take place at the stunning Autodromo Internacional do Algarve

Monday, 10 August 2020

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports recently announced the addition of a fifteenth Grand Prix to the 2020 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar, with the event set to take place from the 20th to the 22nd of November and become the season finale.

The venue for the event can now be revealed as the incredible Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portimão, Portugal. The reserve track for MotoGP™ since 2017, the circuit will now make its debut on the calendar.

The Autodromo Internacional do Algarve is truly unique, with its characteristic elevation changes and undulating layout earning it a reputation as a high-speed rollercoaster – a thrill ride for fans and competitors alike. The track will now welcome MotoGP™ back to Portugal for the first time since 2012, and the event will see Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (Red Bull KTM Tech 3) racing on home turf in the premier class for the first time.

FIM President Jorge Viegas: "I am very proud that MotoGP will return to my country eight years after the last Grand Prix, which took place at the Circuito do Estoril in May 2012. I would like to warmly thank Dorna, the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve and the Motorcycling Federation of Portugal for having managed to meet the necessary conditions for the organisation of the finale of the 2020 FIM Grand Prix World Championship to take place in Portugal."

Autodromo Internacional do Algarve CEO Paulo Pinheiro: "It is a great achievement for our team to finally have MotoGP at our racetrack! MotoGP is the pinnacle of two-wheeled motorsport, and we are so excited to have it.

“It has been a long process with Dorna, we had an agreement in place since 2017, and finally all the hard work paid off. On top of this to have Miguel Oliveira on the MotoGP grid, being able to fight for the podium will be an amazing add on for this race, and hopefully the Championship will be decided here.

"We are working to have the fans in our race, and we will start with a capacity of 30.000 fans for the race weekend and then we will decide with Dorna and the sanitary authorities the following stages.

“We can’t express how happy we are to have this race."

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta: "It’s big news for us, we signed an agreement in 2017 with Portimao to be the reserve circuit for any kinds of cancellations, and we’ve been in contact with them all this time. We’ve been to Portimão with Superbike and we think it’s an amazing possibility for us, and also in the agreement is that the track will be resurfaced after the Superbike round. When we explained this to the riders they were excited because they’ve seen the track on TV, but we’ve never been there.

"Portugal has a long history in our sport and there have been some historic battles in Estoril. It’s something very good for us to have the possibility to go back to Portugal, especially with Miguel Oliveira participating as it’s great to have a Portuguese rider able to compete in his own country. We are extremely happy to be racing in Portimão at the end of the year."

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2020 MotoGP Calendar - COVID-19 Edition

The current 2020 MotoGP calendar is as follows:

Date Grand prix Circuit Notes
08 March Qatar* Losail International Circuit Moto2 & Moto3 only
15/07/20   Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto Test for MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
19/07/20 Spain Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto MotoE
26/07/20 Andalucia Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto MotoE
09/08/20 Czech Republic Automotodrom Brno  
16/08/20 Austria Red Bull Ring-Spielberg  
23/08/20 Styria Red Bull Ring-Spielberg  
13/09/20 San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli MotoE
20/09/20 Emilia Romagna e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli MotoE
27/09/20 Catalunya Barcelona - Catalunya  
11/10/20 France Le Mans MotoE
18/10/20 Aragón MotorLand Aragón  
25/10/20 Teruel MotorLand Aragón  
08/11/20 Europe Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo  
15/11/20 Comunitat Valenciana Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo  
22/11/20 Portugal Autodromo Internacional do Algarve  

* Night race

All dates, events and the eventual attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the pandemic and the approval of the corresponding Governments and authorities.

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Dorna Confirms Positive Case Of Coronavirus Among TV Staff

The MotoGP paddock has its first confirmed case of COVID-19. A cameraman, employed by Dorna but assigned to work with the French broadcaster Canal+ tested positive for the disease during a routine test taken during the Brno round of MotoGP, in preparation for the Austrian race at Spielberg next weekend. Fortunately, the cameraman has no symptoms of the disease at the moment.

Because of the protocol put in place to limit the risk of COVID-19, the cameraman was immediately isolated, along with the rest of the Canal+ TV crew on site. Each TV broadcaster is treated as a bubble, in the same way as teams are treated as bubbles, and the local health authorities imposed isolation on the Canal+ group. As a precaution, Dorna ordered extra tests for others the cameraman had been in contact with.

Though the test came back positive early on Saturday morning, and confirmed by another test taken immediately the first test came back positive, it took a relatively long time for Dorna to make an announcement. A press release was issued on Saturday evening, but the news was not communicated officially to other members of the paddock for some time, despite rumors spreading through the paddock by the end of the morning. MotoMatters.com understands there was some anger among some of the manufacturers that they were not told of the case earlier.

Though the case of COVID-19 was quickly detected and action taken, the incident highlights the risks facing the championship. The cameraman, like most Dorna staff, lives in the Barcelona region, which has seen rising numbers of cases in the past few weeks. The chances of infection during a trip back to Barcelona are relatively high, compared to other regions.

The positive case as found as part of an increase in testing ahead of the races in Austria. The rules surrounding the coronavirus are stricter in Austria than in the Czech Republic, and testing has been made easier to allow more people to be tested ready for the next round at the Red Bull Ring.

Below is the press release issued by Dorna:


MotoGP™ detects and isolates one case of Covid-19 in Brno

Saturday, 08 August 2020

After more than 5,500 tests performed on all paddock personnel before their attendance to the Spanish, Andalucia and Czech GPs, one person in the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship paddock has tested positive for Covid-19. The result was returned during testing undertaken ahead of the Austrian Grand Prix. The person is a member of Dorna Sports’ team and is asymptomatic.

Following the positive result that arrived early on Saturday, the person was immediately informed and isolated in their hotel. A further test was then undertaken in order to confirm the result. This second test also proved positive and therefore the staff member and all close contacts will remain in isolation.

Local health authorities will now decide on the duration of self-isolation they are required to undertake.

As a precautionary measure, the Championship has taken the decision to test any persons in secondary contact with the individual and each of them has returned a negative result.

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Marc Marquez Has Second Surgery To Fit New Plate To Broken Arm

Marc Marquez has been forced to undergo a second operation on the arm he broke at Jerez during the first race of the restarted 2020 MotoGP season. During a medical examination, the titanium plate holding the Repsol Honda rider's right humerus together was found to have bent due to stress placed on it. A second operation was needed to remove the bent plate and replace it with a new one.

Marquez will now spend the 48 hours after the operation in hospital, after which he will be evaluated as to whether he will be able to take part in this weekend's Czech round of MotoGP at Brno. Given what just happened at Jerez, and the fact that he has now missed two races, the chances of him actually racing in Brno are zero.

Given this setback, it appears as if Marquez' title defense has fallen at the first hurdle. Entering Brno 50 points down to Fabio Quartararo, with a bunch of tracks coming up where he is strong and the Yamahas could suffer, there was at least a mathematical chance of him still competing for the title. If he misses Brno, and then, as seems extremely likely, he skips the first race in Austria, and possibly the second, then he will be too far behind to have a shot at the championship.

Though the official statement by Dr Mir of the Dexeus Institut insists that Marc Marquez followed medical advice and the feeling in his body during recovery, it was clear that the reigning champion was pushing the limits of his body's ability to heal. The fact that he said he felt something change in his arm during FP4 at the second race in Jerez, when he tried to ride, was a sign of how hard he was pushing himself. But the fact that the bend to the plate was not discovered when he was examined after that race weekend suggests it was still straight at that point.

Since then, Marquez has been hard at work preparing for the triple header at Brno and the Red Bull Ring. Most likely, he was pushing himself too hard in training, and the accumulated stress of that training is what caused the plate to bend.

How long HRC can rein Marquez in remains to be seen. They tried and failed in the brief period between the first race in Jerez and the second, Marquez insisting he be allowed to try to ride. Though he made the right decision to stop when it became apparent he could not ride, it is questionable whether trying to ride was the right decision. HRC was not in a position to deny him, then, however. Perhaps this setback will have strengthened their hand.

The press release from Honda appears below:


Marc Marquez undergoes second surgery

Marc Marquez underwent a second operation today, Monday August 3, after the titanium plate used to fix his right humerus was found to have suffered damage due to stress accumulation. Dr Xavier Mir and his team at the Hospital Universitari Dexeus successfully replaced the titanium plate and Marc Marquez will now stay in hospital for 48 hours before being discharged.

Dr. Xavier Mir
Hospital Universitari Dexeus

“Marc Marquez underwent surgery 13 days ago and today he returned to the operating room. The first operation was successful, what was not expected was that the plate was insufficient. An accumulation of stress in the operated area has caused the plate to suffer some damage, so today the titanium plate has been removed and replaced by a new fixation. The rider has not felt pain during this period. He has always followed the medical advice given and the feeling from his body. Unfortunately, an over stress has caused this issue. Now we have to wait 48 hours to understand the recovery time.”

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2020 MotoGP Calendar Update - Argentina, Thailand, Malaysia Canceled, Portimao Added?

The COVID-19 pandemic has once again reshaped the 2020 MotoGP calendar, though this change had long been expected. Today, Dorna and the FIM announced that the three races outside Europe still on the calendar - in Argentina, Malaysia, and Thailand - have all been canceled. Taking their place at the end of the season is one extra race, officially unspecified as yet.

Though the FIM have said officially that the final circuit is to be announced on August 10th, after the next round of MotoGP at Brno, reports are circulating that the race is set to be held at Portimao in Portugal. This does not come as a surprise, given that the Portuguese track has been a reserve on the calendar for some time. Prior to the pandemic, Dorna had been considering putting Portimao into the rotation of five tracks on the Iberian peninsula which would share out three races each year between them.

Below is the revised and updated calendar:

Date Grand prix Circuit Notes
15/07/20   Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto Test for MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3
19/07/20 Spain Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto MotoE
26/07/20 Andalusia Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto MotoE
09/08/20 Czech Republic Automotodrom Brno  
16/08/20 Austria Red Bull Ring-Spielberg  
23/08/20 Austria Red Bull Ring-Spielberg  
13/09/20 San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli  
20/09/20 San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli MotoE
27/09/20 Catalunya Barcelona - Catalunya  
11/10/20 France Le Mans MotoE
18/10/20 Aragón MotorLand Aragón  
25/10/20 Aragón MotorLand Aragón  
08/11/20 Comunitat Valenciana Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo  
15/11/20 Comunitat Valenciana Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo  
22/11/20 To be announced To be announced Believed to be Portimao

All dates, events and the eventual attendance of spectators are subject to the evolution of the pandemic and the approval of the corresponding Governments and authorities.


Another Grand Prix in Europe added to the 2020 calendar as Argentina, Thailand and Malaysia are cancelled

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the cancellation of the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina, OR Thailand Grand Prix and Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in 2020. Previously postponed, the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and resulting complications now sadly oblige the cancellation of the events to be confirmed.

However, it can now be revealed that an additional Grand Prix is to be added to the 2020 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar. After the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, another race weekend will take place from the 20th to the 22nd of November at a venue in Europe, becoming the 2020 season finale. Further details on the host venue will be confirmed on Monday the 10th of August.

In addition, a new agreement has been reached with the promoters of the Thai GP that confirms Chang International Circuit will remain on the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar until at least 2026. The racing in Buriram has been incredible since the venue joined the calendar in 2018, with the unique final corner never failing to deliver a thrill. Although the event will sadly not take place in 2020, MotoGP™ can now look forward to many more years of spectacular battles at one of the flagship motorsport venues in Asia.

Furthermore, Dorna has already begun working with the Promoters of Argentina and Malaysian GPs to define possible dates to propose to the FIM for the events in 2021, with plans in place to welcome fans back to the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo and Sepang International Circuit, respectively.

The Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo first joined the MotoGP™ calendar in 2014 and has put on a vibrant Grand Prix every year since. The grandstands are always packed as fans travel to the venue from across Latin America, with Argentinians joined by crowds from Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and more.

Sepang International Circuit is the longest serving venue of the three and first hosted MotoGP™ in 1999. A true world leader then as now, the track is one of the longest and most challenging of the season, staging some all-time classic races. Sepang also serves up a unique experience for fans sat in the iconic grandstand complex along the main straight and into the final corner, putting spectators into the heart of the action, surrounded by the sound of MotoGP™ at full throttle.

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta: “It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of the Argentina, Thailand and Malaysian Grands Prix this season, and they will be very much missed on the 2020 calendar. The passion of the fans who often travel across continents to enjoy MotoGP with us in Termas de Rio Hondo, Buriram and Sepang is incredible, creating as they do such an incredible atmosphere and welcome for the sport. However, we are delighted to add another Grand Prix in Europe to the 2020 calendar, and reveal our new agreement that will see MotoGP racing in Thailand and Buriram until at least 2026. We are very much looking forward to returning to Thailand, Argentina and Malaysia next year and as always, I would like to thank the fans for their patience and understanding.”

FIM President Jorge Viegas: "I would like to thank Dorna, all the teams, the national federations and local organisers for enabling us to get back on track. In doing so, we adapt every day and we will have a very complete and competitive FIM MotoGP World Championship in 2020. The location of the 15th Grand Prix will be announced soon, and we will be back - stronger than ever!”

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Marc Marquez Withdraws From Andalusian GP At Jerez

After trying to ride on Saturday at Jerez, Marc Marquez has been forced to pull out of Sunday's Andalusian Grand Prix at Jerez. The Repsol Honda rider rode reasonably well in FP3, and was passed fit after the session to continue.

But Marquez started to struggle in the afternoon. The reigning champion put in a stint of eight laps on his first run in FP4, but only went out for two more after that. He attempted to ride in Q1, but came back in directly after his out lap, and walked out of the back of the garage and into the truck.

When he emerged from the truck wearing team clothing, his right arm, fractured last week and plated in an operation on Tuesday, was visibly swollen. It was clear that Marquez would not be able to continue, and the Repsol Honda team announced he would sit out the race shortly afterward.

This is the first race Marquez will have missed in his MotoGP career. The last time he missed a race was at Sepang and Valencia, the last two races of 2011, after crashing heavily over water on the track, at a point where no yellow flags were being waved to warn the riders. Marquez suffered nerve damage to an eye in that crash, but was operated on succesfully, and returned the next season.

HRC later released a statement from Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig:

"This morning the objective was to make first contact with the bike and we saw that Marc could still be fast. In the afternoon the plan was to do a longer run. Either due to the heat or fatigue from the morning, he experienced more problems and found it more difficult. Obviously we have understood that it was better not to take more risks. We have followed the plan, which was to miss Friday and see how Marc felt today. Now we have analyzed the situation and made the decision not to participate in tomorrow's race. We have followed the plan, always checking the physical condition of the rider. Marc has tried to listen to his body, to see how he responded. When he saw that he could not, we have all decided not to race tomorrow. Marc is very strong. He wanted to try, and we wanted to give him the opportunity to do it, we have supported him at all times. I think we have made the right decision at all times. A champion cannot stay at home if he thinks he has the option or a slight chance. Now he has a lot of inflammation, but it will pass. There are many races ahead and the goal is to arrive in Brno in the best way."

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2020 WorldSBK Calendar Update: Assen, Donington, Qatar All Canceled

As the restart of the 2020 WorldSBK draws near, Dorna and the FIM have issued an updated calendar. In the previous version of the calendar, the British, Dutch, and Qatar rounds of the WorldSBK series were listed as to be determined. These three races, at Doningon Park, Assen, and the Losail International Circuit, have now been canceled due to the organizational headaches created by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With those three rounds dropped, eight rounds remain on the calendar. The season restarts at Jerez on August 2nd, the week after MotoGP's second race at the track. The WorldSBK paddock then heads west to the Portimao circuit in Portugal, before taking two weeks off and traveling to the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain.

Back to back rounds in Aragon are followed by a single trip to Barcelona, before the WorldSBK circus heads north to Magny-Cours for the French round. They then prepare to fly to Argentina, to the San Juan Villicum circuit, though that round remains to be confirmed, because of the pandemic. The season then finishes up in Misano in Italy.

The calendar and press release announcing it are below

Date Country Circuit WorldSBK WorldSSP WorldSSP300
28 Feb – 1 March Australia Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit X X  
31 July - 2 August Spain Circuito de Jerez - Ángel Nieto X X X
7 - 9 August Portugal Autódromo Internacional do Algarve X X X
28 - 30 August Spain MotorLand Aragón X X X
4 - 6 September Spain MotorLand Aragón 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  
6 - 8 November Italy Misano World Circuit “Marco Simoncelli” X X X

* Event to be confirmed


British, Dutch and Qatari WorldSBK rounds cancelled

Despite the very best efforts of all involved, three rounds have been cancelled as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic

After extensive discussions and the assessment of a multitude of possibilities and scenarios, the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM) and Dorna WSBK Organization (DWO) regret to announce the cancellation of three events that were previously to be determined (TBD) and to be confirmed (TBC). The safety of all parties within the MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship paddock is of top priority and whilst the season is carrying on, a solution was not possible to incorporate every venue, given the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The UK Round at Donington Park (previously postponed and TBD), the Dutch Round at the TT Circuit Assen (previously rescheduled, then postponed and TBD) and the Qatar Round at the Losail International Circuit (previously postponed and TBD) have been cancelled. It will be the first time in WorldSBK history that there won’t be a round in the United Kingdom, whilst the TT Circuit Assen has been a permanent fixture on the calendar since 1992, ending a streak of the longest continually serving venue in WorldSBK.

Gregorio Lavilla, Executive Director of the Sporting and Organisation Departments commented: “I am personally very sad to announce the subsequent cancellations of the three rounds. As a fan of our sport, I am extremely saddened not to go to WorldSBK’s birthplace at Donington Park and the ‘Cathedral of Speed’ at Assen, a track which has featured on our calendar uninterrupted since 1992. I am equally as sad not to not have the spectacle of a night race in Qatar, always something we look forward to. We explored all avenues in order to find a solution but unfortunately, one could not be found. However, this mustn’t cast a cloud over the Championship. The majority of our events in 2020 will happen and plans for a full, complete 2021 are well underway. We would like to thank everyone involved for their tireless work and cooperation, and also the fans for waiting patiently before our season resumes.”

The 2020 Championship will now follow the latest planned schedule and any further updates will be communicated accordingly in due course.

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Marquez, Crutchlow, Rins All Passed Fit To Race - UPDATED

The Jerez medical center has been a busy place for the past hour, with riders coming and going for their medical assessments. Cal Crutchlow, Marc Marquez, and Alex Rins all had to pass a fitness test before being given the all clear to test. All three have been declared fit, and will attempt to ride tomorrow, to assess their fitness on the bike.

Cal Crutchlow fractured his left scaphoid in a crash during Sunday warm up at Jerez last week, and had the scaphoid pinned in place. Although the pinned scaphoid will be painful, he should not have too many problems riding, especially as the injury is to his left hand, rather than his right. Jerez is a clockwise circuit with a lot of right hand corners, and all the hard braking at the circuit is done on the right.

Alex Rins had dislocated his right shoulder and cracked his humerus in a heavy fall at Turn 11 during qualifying. Rins did not need surgery, and has been undergoing intensive therapy to be ready for Jerez. The Suzuki Ecstar rider did sustain some ligament damage, and that will determine how capable his of riding.

Marc Marquez suffered a dislocated fracture of the humerus in his right upper arm, when he crashed during the race and had the front wheel of his Repsol Honda RC213V hit his arm as he and his bike entered the gravel on the exit of Turn 3. At first, doctors feared he had suffered nerve damage, but that proved not to be the case. Marquez had surgery to put the bone back into place and to insert a titanium plate to fix the bone on Tuesday, and decided on Wednesday night to try to ride.

Though the doctors passed him medically fit to race - a judgment that he has enough strength in the arm to control the bike sufficiently that he is not a danger to his fellow competitors - actually riding at the track will be tough. Jerez asks a lot of the right side of a rider's body, and will place a lot of stress on Marquez' injured right arm.

The proof of the pudding will be in the eating, as Rins, Crutchlow, and Marquez all get on their bikes on Friday morning for FP1.

UPDATE

Marc Marquez will sit out all of Friday, and will only ride on Saturday to assess his fitness. Repsol Honda team manager Alberto Puig gave a statement to the media, saying the following:

"Nobody expected to see him here. I mean when the accident happened we were very worried and of course he had to go to Barcelona for surgery. Surgery went, frankly speaking, spectacularly well. We didn't expect - I mean, we know the doctor is good but it was a fantastic job. And after surgery the rider started to feel very well. He started to contact us, saying 'I'm not so bad. I feel well. I'm not having so much pain. I can move the arm'. The nerve situation, as the doctor informed, was okay."

"So originally clearly the Honda position was to cancel this race and to try in Brno. But after what we saw of Marc's wish, after what the doctors said today, declaring him fit, I mean we came to a let's say understanding position that he will try on Saturday and depending on how he's feeling he will try to race or not. But we asked him to check on Saturday first and really understand if he is really capable of doing the distance or not. In case it's too risky, Marc already understood that our idea will be to cancel the race. But from last Sunday to today, things have been going so fast and so quickly that frankly speaking we are very surprised."

Explain the decision to way until Saturday?

"Yes, if it was a new track it would be more difficult. But we have been here for five days so the setup of the bike we know, he knows exactly how to ride the bike on this track. So it's no meaning to try Friday and to give more stress to the injury. So he will try Saturday and after that we will see. But it was very important for Honda and for the Repsol Honda team to also respect the rider's wish. So we get this compromise and then we will see the result on Saturday."

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Marc Marquez To Attempt To Ride At Second Jerez Round

Marc Marquez is heading back to Jerez and will attempt to ride at this weekend's Grand Prix of Andalusia at Jerez. Despite breaking his arm during last Sunday's race at the circuit, and having surgery to plate the arm on Tuesday, Marquez is determined to attempt to ride.

Marquez faces a number of hurdles before he is allowed to ride. He is already flying back to Jerez, but on arrival, he faces examination by the circuit doctors. He will have to prove he is capable of riding safely and controlling the motorcycle. That means having the strength in his upper arm to manage braking and turning, which can place huge loads on the arms, especially, as the braking forces produced by the Brembo carbon brakes meaning the riders have to support more than their own bodyweight with their arms.

But a return to racing is also made more complicated by the COVID-19 protocols put in place by Dorna, and essential to operating the race at Jerez safely. Marquez' crew had already left the circuit, but anyone flying home and wanting to return to the paddock has to be tested for the disease once again. As the test results take time to process, they are likely to only get into the paddock and start work on Thursday afternoon, putting them behind their normal schedule.

Marquez has clearly decided that in such a compressed and short season, he cannot afford to lose any more points, after his DNF after crashing out of the race on Sunday. In a tight and complicated championship, every point may well turn out to count at the end of 2020.

Below is the announcement on Twitter from the Repsol Honda team:

Source: 

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