Schedule massively affected
The global Covid-19 pandemic since the start of the year has led to most international competitions, including the MotoGP World Championship, being put on hold. However, a restart is taking shape and being considered for July.
After having to cancel the first half of the races from the Grand Prix schedule, Carmelo Ezpeleta now hopes to be able to start the MotoGP Championship up again on 19 July at Spain’s Jerez circuit. “We expect to have two races over two consecutive weekends in Andalusia”, adds Hervé Poncharal, Tech 3 team manager. “Moving around has become complicated, so we need to optimize our travel arrangements and to hold two events at the same circuit if possible”. One thing is certain, these races will need to take place behind closed doors, as most of the countries concerned have restrictions in place forbidding gatherings of several thousand people until further notice. Even the paddock will need to be trimmed down. The official MotoGP teams will be restricted to around 40 members.
For independent teams, this limit will be set at 25 people. With around 20 people for each Moto2 team, 15 or so with Moto3, zero guests, no hospitality people and just a few journalists from the TV channels…“We have drawn up a very strict protocol in order to obtain the necessary authorizations during a very complicated period”, confirms Hervé Poncharal, who is also President of the Grand Prix teams. “Everyone will be tested for Covid-19 before entering the paddock, everyone will be isolated for meals, and everyone will be accommodated in the same hotels, with a system for transfers from the hotels to the circuit”. Thanks to these very strict measures, the championship’s promoter is hoping to get a green light from the Czech authorities to go to Brno at the start of August. “We would then have a one-week break, before heading to Austria for two races at the Red Bull Ring”, explains the Tech 3 team manager. The next stop would then be Italy and the Misano track, for one or two races in September, before returning to Spain, where the Barcelona, Aragon and Valencia circuits could host five or six events. Between all of these races in Spain.
The French Grand Prix could also be held during the first two weeks of October. “So, we would have a championship with a dozen European races”, notes Poncharal. For more than this, the health situation would really need to improve. If this happens, some events could also be held outside of Europe, between the end of October and 13 December, the deadline for wrapping up the championship. “However, from an economic perspective, due to the travel costs involved, it would not be possible to stage these Grand Prix events behind closed doors without fans”, concludes Poncharal. “The pandemic would really need to move under control around the world for us to be able to consider travelling to Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Japan”.