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MotoGP could stage double-headers due to coronavirus

Daniel Herrero

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Tuesday 10th March, 2020 - 8:33am

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MotoGP could hold double-headers if more races are cancelled due to coronavirus pic: MotoGP.com

MotoGP could hold double-header rounds in the event that coronavirus causes more races to be cancelled, according to FIM President Jorge Viegas.

Only Moto2 and Moto3 raced last weekend at Qatar due to travel restrictions on arrivals from Italy, and the junior classes already being at the Losail International Circuit off the back of pre-season testing.

Thailand’s event, which was to have been Round 2 of the season, has been postponed to its former slot in October, leaving the United States currently as the premier class season-opener by default.

However, that round at the Circuit of the Americas is now itself in doubt due to declaration of a “local state of disaster” which means events drawing more than 2,500 people need special permission to go ahead.

Italy, where a large number of teams/riders are based, has now expanded its travel restrictions to the entire country, meaning individuals cannot travel outside their local areas unless they can prove a need to do so for work, health or other reasons.

The CEO of MotoGP promoter Dorna, Carmelo Ezpeleta, had already stated that “Everything is possible” in response to questions about whether races might be held behind closed doors.

He also expressed confidence that the 13-race threshold for the season to count as a world championship with the FIM could be met.

Viegas has now told Catalunya Radio that double-headers or even races in January are options.

“Right now, I have total confidence that the championship will have more than 13 races,” said Viegas.

“If we have to run in January, we will.

“We can hold two grands prix in the same weekend or run behind closed doors. All that (is possible) if there is no other solution.

“In the current situation there are no taboos. You have to be flexible and have imagination.”

On the subject of the round in Texas, Viegas conceded that the likelihood of it being run on April 3-5, as currently scheduled is “very low” and could be postponed.

“We are already working to find alternative dates for the race in Austin,” he said.

“But at this moment things are evolving so fast that we cannot say more.”

Reserve circuits could also get a call-up to the calendar, including two in Portugal.

“Portimao is a reserve circuit, just like Estoril,” noted Viegas.

“In Portugal, there are no (travel) restrictions.”

In Formula 1, this weekend’s Rolex Australian Grand Prix is set to proceed as planned, although the Bahrain Grand Prix on the following weekend will be run behind closed doors.

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