Another Domino Falls: Finland Extends Ban On Large Events Until July 31

Yesterday, the Dutch government announced it was extending the ban on public events until September 1st, putting an end to hopes of racing in June. Today, the Finnish government have ended any hope of MotoGP racing in July. At a press conference on Wednesday evening, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced that all gatherings of over 500 people are to remain banned until July 31st.

That would make it impossible to hold the Finnish Grand Prix, due to be held on July 12th at the new Kymiring circuit, 130 km northeast of Helsinki. Although no announcements have been made officially, the race in Finland was the first race left on the calendar after announcements in Germany and The Netherlands made it impossible for the races at the Sachsenring and Assen to be held.

Postponing the Finnish round of MotoGP would not come as a surprise, as the circuit was still not homologated for MotoGP. Given the track's location, the options for rescheduling it in 2020 are very limited. Cancellation is a more likely option, though nothing official has been announced yet.

The presumable loss of Finland means the first possible race could be Brno on August 9th, but the Czech Republic is also tending towards keeping the borders closed beyond the summer of 2020.

Austria is a more likely candidate for the season to start. Both F1 and MotoGP are examining the option of racing at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg behind closed doors, F1 in July, MotoGP in August. However, for that to happen, a lot of international restrictions on travel will need to be lifted. The countries in the Schengen Area in the EU currently have bans in place on non-EU nationals entering.

There are the first signs of hope, however. Austria and parts of Italy have started opening some shops, Spain is due to start allowing children to go outside again, and in a press conference today, Ernst Kuipers, head of the Dutch National Acute Care Network, said he believed that pressure on hospitals in The Netherlands had eased enough to start to think about ending some restrictions earlier than the May 31st date currently given by the Dutch government.

The COVID-19 outbreak appears to be past its peak in many European countries. Dr. Jason Oke, a medical statistician at the University of Oxford, told the BBC radio program More Or Less that his calculations showed that coronavirus deaths had reached a peak in the UK on April 8th, and the disease is now in a slow decline. This decline in cases and deaths could prompt an easing of restrictions sooner rather than later, though governments in Europe are erring on the side of caution, fearing a resurgence of the disease.

If there is not a second spike in cases as restrictions are eased, then some form of racing could resume in the second half of 2020. How, when, and where is still up in the air, but there is reason for cautious optimism that there will be at least some semblance of a MotoGP and WorldSBK season in 2020.

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Comments

just the social distancing will make it pretty much impossible. How can the team communicate in a huddle with the rider? If there is a crash what about the medics and the stewards etc etc. Life as they are mapping it out currently will remain at a dead stop socially. No one in government will lift these restrictions until peple stop dying. You have to wonder why sometimes. But when you think it through there are some vaild reasons, risks have to be managed and there are very few risk takers in government or medicine. Plenty in Motogp, however, they will always be measured risks.
I really hope there is some racing, but I seriously doubt it.

With sensible (not paranoid) precautions it can be done. The risk of not doing things can be much worse. Dying is a fact of life, as is that some will be more prone to it than others. I reckon that racers take bigger risks as routine and that by limiting their exposure to unknowns/strangers they will be safe enough. There is a big question around the support staff like marshalls and how that can be handled, but if they distance themselves at trackside etc and wear helmets or somesuch the dwell time in close proximity is probably acceptable. There is often more risk in panicking and running away from something than dealing with it in a calm and analytical manner.

We are all in the front line and need to display some stoicism. Which is quite different to blind stupidity.

I think doctors take risks all the time - by being near sick people as a routine, and picking the diagnosis and then the treatment. These things are not simple or finite.

Worst is yet to come, buckle up and hunker down.

The "Spanish Flu" (orig USA heartland) had 3 blooms in 2 yrs. People didn't move around as far and quickly then, nor were there as many vectors.

This week we see 30 to 50 yr old healthy people having strokes and heart attacks from it. It isn't just respiratory.

No racing this yr, hoping for a partial 2021. Our "zaniest of wild" silly seasons btw? Gone the other direction, watch for nothing but safe status quo signings. Odd to me that one of the FIRST signings was the backmarker anchor. Eyes on Ducati, hoping they can capitalize on troubles by signing one of the few young guns on the horizon.

Mir is about to resign w Suzuki...Rossi teeters on the fence.