MotoGP plans a congested calendar

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After the first eight events of the 2020 MotoGP season have been postponed or cancelled, the series could face a congested calendar, says Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta.

The sport has implemented a set of measures recently in order to guarantee the financial well-being of its participants. The meeting that took place two weeks ago saw all the manufacturers come together in a virtual conference. It has been agreed that teams can make hardly any changes to their bikes during the next two seasons.

The coronavirus crisis has also affected the calendar of the 2020 MotoGP season. The first eight races have already been subject to change with the grands prix in Losail, Sachsenring, Assen and Iitti having been cancelled for 2020 while the other five rounds including the events in Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello and Barcelona have been postponed.

Ezpeleta confirmed that MotoGP’s Commercial Rights Holder plans to start the season at the end of July, with a target of at least ten races in 2020. The Spaniard also added that the sport is considering the possibility of having multiple races at the same circuit, but should it happen, the field will contest at two consecutive weekends instead of squeezing two race weekends into one.

"Our idea right now is to start at the end of July. Where and when are still to be decided. We’re sure our initial program is to start in Europe and race from the end of July until November and see what’s happening, and if the non-European races will be possible after November. 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.”

The Bridgepoint company that controls Dorna Sports has purchased 10,000 coronavirus tests in order to scrutinise the state of health of everyone taking part in a race weekend.

"We are working just on the 10,000 coronavirus tests which we agreed with Bridgepoint. Then what we are doing is to try to make a protocol, which is the way we’re working within Dorna now to see how the races could be without spectators and with a limited number of people working in the paddock, which will give different situations regarding transportation, accommodation, hospitality. Then everyone will be tested before leaving their house, then tested when they arrive at the circuit and also when they return home.”

Ezpeleta has confirmed that Dorna Sports has already worked out a plan for the time when the 2020 championship can finally kick off. MotoGP manufacturer teams will be allowed to travel with 40 people to races while that number will be 25 for satellite and independent teams. Moto2 teams can set up a travelling staff of 20 people while Moto3 teams have to adhere to a maximum number of 15 people.

According to the calculation of Dorna Sports, the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 teams, the race organisation and the crew producing the TV signal will add up to around 1600 people. In order to maintain control over the paddock, media, TV channels and photographers will not be allowed to travel to races.

While races with spectators are hard to imagine given the current global health crisis, Ezpeleta hopes that fans can enjoy hard-fought MotoGP grands prix when the situation finally improves.

"Our main thing is to maintain our fantastic numbers regarding the interest in MotoGP around the world. It will be difficult to have spectators at the races but we will have our fantastic television coverage which will permit the majority of people to watch the races. My message is that we’ll be sure to come back and we’ll be back stronger from this situation. We’re not working just on 2020 but on 2021 and beyond and we’re trying to maintain the races, which is the most important thing,” he concluded.