Having had racing schedules for 2020 thrown awry by the spread of Covid-19 and the subsequent lockdowns and prohibition on mass public gatherings, Dorna chief executive officer Carmelo Ezpeleta announced the cancellation of three Grands Prix; Germany, Assen and Finland. This will be the first time ever there has not been a Motorcycle Grand Prix round in Assen, Holland, while Finland’s KymiRing circuit was scheduled to debut this year.
While Formula 1 has announced a proposed race calendar, but Ezpeleta remained a little more guarded, citing issues with authorities and spectators. “Today we announced the cancellation of the three Grands Prix; Germany, Assen and Finland. The reason is because we are contemplating the possibility to start in July but the problem is with the situation and authorities it will be difficult to do with spectators,” Ezpeleta said.
Since holding those three races would be difficult with spectators, an agreement was reached between Dorna, as organisers of the MotoGP, and promoters at the three race circuits to postpone MotoGP to next year. “The authorities of the Netherlands have forbidden events until the end of August and so it’s completely impossible. After that in Assen it will be difficult to organise a Grand Prix and more difficult again without spectators,” said Ezpeleta, explaining the reason for a postponement rather than reschedule.
Dorna’s plans for a revised MotoGP calendar include racing in Europe starting from the end of July through to the end of November, then taking stock of the situation with regards to races outside Europe. “In the worst case, if it’s not possible to travel outside of Europe, we’ll at least keep a Championship of least 10 to 12 races between the end of July and the end of November,” he said.
Social distancing measures for holding MotoGP races also include no spectators with only a televised broadcast and limiting the number of personnel in the paddock. Other proposed preventative measures include travel between races only using ground transport and testing for MotoGP personnel.
“Everyone will be tested before leaving their house, then tested when they arrive at the circuit and also when they return home. This is the idea,” Ezpeleta elaborated. For reduced staff numbers, Ezpeleta said, “maximum number for a MotoGP manufacturer team will be 40, for satellite or independent teams will be 25, 20 for Moto2 and 15 for Moto3. Then there will be, of course, all the people who produce the television signal; all this crew, then the minimum number of people from Dorna who are in charge of race organisation. This will give us an average of around 1600 people.”
Dorna is also considering holding races at certain circuits on consecutive weekends and has been in contact with MotoGP teams and riders. “Two weeks ago we had a meeting with all the manufacturers together and we decided the technical situation for 2020 and 2021 for the three categories. Then I’m speaking regularly with everyone about our plans for the near future,” he said.