The strict SOP in Sepang is a means to curb the outbreak of the recent Covid-19 Omicron variant.
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The Covid-19 outbreak saw the MotoGP event take place outside Europe only three times (two in Qatar, one in the US) in the last two seasons.
Although the 2021 season went smoothly, Dorna had to cancel six rounds due to the increasing factor of the Covid-19 case.
Dorna also canceled the pre-season test at the Sepang International Circuit (SIC) ahead of the opening of the 2020 season due to the 14-day mandatory quarantine restriction implemented by the Malaysian government.
However, to ensure the pre-season test in Sepang runs smoothly for the 2022 season, Dorna introduced the Covid-19’s strict standard operating procedure (SOP) during the Sepang Shakedown Test from 31 January to 2 February followed by the official MotoGP test on 5 to 6 February 2022.
The strict SOP is also to ensure that the Omicron variant that is currently hitting the country can be curbed.
“Each party involved has received an email with instructions to be complied with in Sepang.
“The rules are very strict and allow pre-season testing to be conducted with low risk,” explained MotoGP Rider Manager Carlo Pernat.
Pernat also informed that the accommodation (hotel) has also been informed including the transfer of all structures to the circuit which will be fully managed by the management.
“There is no direct possibility of coming out of this virtual bubble,” added Pernat.
At the same time, all MotoGP staff and riders will be staying at either the Sama-Sama Hotel or the Movenpick Hotel.
Upon arrival at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), all teams will undergo PCR and be taken directly to the hotel for self-quarantine to await test results which will take between 12 to 24 hours.
MotoGP staff and riders will only be allowed to move from the hotel to the circuit only.
Meanwhile, individuals wishing to go to SIC must exhibit complete evidence of the vaccine and negative Covid-19 test results before being admitted.
According to international media reports, the same protocol will also be implemented at the Mandalika Circuit, Indonesia.