The 2021 season is slated to begin with the Qatar Grand Prix on March 28, before the Doha GP – a new addition to the calendar – takes place a week later at the same Losail International Circuit.
However, MotoGP will currently be present in Qatar for most of March, with five days of testing scheduled from March 5th to March 12th for the premier class and three days from March 19th to 21st for Moto2 and Moto3.
Currently, Qatar’s COVID-19 travel protocols mandate that all those entering the country must be quarantined for at least six days before being allowed to leave on the seventh day, as long as there are two negative PCR test results.
The MotoGP protocol enables the entire paddock to bypass this quarantine period if a negative COVID-19 test can be detected in its country of origin.
Upon arrival in Qatar, all paddock members will be retested before being taken to their hotels while waiting for the results of the second PCR test.
From this point onwards, the bubble protocols that the paddock worked with last year to maintain social distancing and end group mixing will come into effect.
Anyone who leaves the country before the first race must go through the same steps as described above before they can enter the paddock.
MotoGP had something similar planned for the Sepang pre-season test in Malaysia this month before it was finally canceled after the country declared a state of emergency due to a surge in COVID-19 cases.
In addition to two races in Qatar, the third round of the season will now be held in Portugal at the beginning of April, after the GPs in the USA and Argentina were postponed to an unspecified date at the end of the year.
A spokesman for the Buriram circuit in Thailand told Motorsport.com on Wednesday that the country’s Grand Prix had been canceled this year due to a “misunderstanding”.
While further calendar revisions are likely as the world is currently facing a second wave of COVID-19 infections, the Brno Circuit confirmed Tuesday that a lack of funding meant that the required track work could not be carried out and their MotoGP Event for 2021 had to be canceled.