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MotoGP hoping to reschedule Thailand, hold all other races

Daniel Herrero

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Tuesday 3rd March, 2020 - 8:20am

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The 2019 Thai MotoGP race pic: MotoGP.com

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has expressed a goal of rescheduling the Thailand MotoGP event and holding all other races this season after coronavirus concerns hit the first two rounds.

Premier class proceedings which were to have taken place this weekend in Qatar have been cancelled and the Thailand event, due a fortnight later, has been postponed indefinitely.

Dorna had released a statement on February 20 which proclaimed that the latter would go ahead due to there being “no major risk, with the country having infected patients under care and strict preventive measures in place.”

According to Ezpeleta, the postponement arose due to a broad government policy to cancel large events, as opposed to specific travel restrictions the likes of which now apply in Qatar.

“We have been speaking to the authorities in Thailand all weekend and they advised us that early on Monday, Thailand time, there would be a meeting to decide which events can happen in Thailand,” said Ezpeleta in a statement released by MotoGP.

“It’s not related to Italians or anyone of any other nationality going to Thailand, it’s that they have decided to cancel big events with large numbers of spectators.

“It’s different to the situation with Qatar, so we decided to postpone the Thailand Grand Prix and try to locate a date at the end of the year to make the GP possible.”

As it stands, the first round of MotoGP is the Grand Prix of the Americas, on April 3-5 (local time), by default.

Ezpeleta added, “There will absolutely be a 2020 MotoGP season.

“We will try to continue with everything and stay aware of the situation because it’s changing day by day, but our wish is to do all the races in the 2020 season.”

In his latest statement, Ezpeleta also reaffirmed how it came to be that MotoGP running in Qatar has been cancelled, but Moto2 and Moto3 will proceed due to testing for those classes already taking place in the Middle Eastern nation.

“We have been in close contact with the authorities in Qatar to understand exactly what we could do,” he recounted.

“Then during the weekend, the situation changed a lot. On Saturday and Sunday it wasn’t a specific problem for anyone, but later on on Sunday we received indication from the authorities in Qatar that due to the situation in Italy and around the world, everyone of Italian nationality or residents of Italy arriving from there needs to be sure they haven’t been in Italy during the last 14 days.

“In those cases, it’s not that entrance to Qatar is forbidden, but anyone who has been in Italy in the last 14 days is advised that they will be quarantined for 14 days in Qatar.

“Obviously that’s not possible for our people, and this was what led us to cancel the MotoGP category at the Grand Prix of Qatar.

“Because Moto2 and Moto3 have been testing this week in Qatar, it’s possible to continue with the Championship but only with Moto2 and Moto3, as well as the Asia Talent Cup.”

Moto2 and Moto3 practice at the Losail International Circuit will still begin this Friday night (AEDT).

Meanwhile, the Australian Grand Prix Corporation has restated that there is currently no indication that coronavirus will impact on this month’s Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix.

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