As the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt the motorsport world, MotoGP and the World Rally Championship have announced further changes to their 2020 calendars.
Since MotoGP was forced to cancel the season-opening Doha race just days before the event due to travel restrictions, the championship has been put on hold. The first races of the season including the events in Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello and Montmeló have all been postponed.
In a joint statement issued by Dorna Sports, the FIM and the IRTA, it has been confirmed that that HJC Helmets Motorrad Grand Prix Deutschland, the Motul TT Assen and the Grand Prix of Finland have been cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. All three events are expected to return on the calendar in 2021.
CEO of Dorna Sports Carmelo Ezpeleta said that he regrets the cancellation of the three grands prix, but the health of the championship participants, staff and fans is the main priority in this unprecedented time.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of these three important Grands Prix on the MotoGP calendar. The German GP is raced on a truly unique track with an incredible history, and the KymiRing is an exciting new venue set to welcome Grand Prix motorcycle racing back to Finland for the first time since 1982.”
„And the iconic TT Circuit Assen had the unique honour of being the only venue to have held a round of the motorcycle racing Grand Prix World Championship every year, uninterrupted, since the Championship began in 1949,” he said.
First cancellation in WRC
While the World Rally Championship has also been affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the series has not cancelled any races so far. After the Rally Guanajuato México that was staged days before countries started to introduce travel restrictions, the series announced the postponements of the events in Argentina, Portugal and Italy.
With the ongoing situation showing only slow progress, the Organisers of the Rally Portugal has decided to call off the event for 2020 and focus rather on next year’s rally.
“After a joint assessment together with our partners, the various municipalities, national authorities and sponsors, all health and safety conditions needed to run the WRC Vodafone Rally de Portugal in a safe way are not achievable given the unpredictable situation that we live in these days, and also the uncertainty of opening the national borders or airspace,” a statement from the Automóvel Club de Portugal said.
The next event on the calendar is the Safari Rally Kenya that is scheduled to be run as a WRC rally for the first time since 2002. The unique event that is to be based in the Kenyan capital Nairobi requires special car parts to fulfil the one-off requirements of the setting. However, the event is hanging in the balance and looks likely to suffer the same fate of Rally Portugal.