2020 MotoGP Calendar Updated Version 3 – Argentina Postponed To November, Triple Header To Close The Season
Submitted by David Emmett on Wed, 2020-03-11 15:34
The MotoGP calendar has been changed again due to the ongoing outbreak of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19. This time, it is the Argentina round of the series, due to be held in Termas de Rio Hondo on April 19th, which has been postponed. The race has now been set for November 22nd, the date Valencia was moved to in yesterday’s updated calendar, with Valencia now slated for November 29th.
Moving the Argentina race became almost inevitable, after the Argentine round of MXGP at Neuquen was rescheduled last night. With more and more countries imposing travel restrictions on Italians – Malaysia will be imposing a ban on Italian passport holders, and anyone who has been in Italy in the last 14 days from this Friday, March 13th – organizing events for a sport with such a significant Italian component has become nigh-on impossible.
The latest calendar update imposes a punishing schedule on the second half of the season. The season resumes with back-to-back races at Brno and Austria, followed by a relatively genteel period with a weekend off, then Silverstone, another weekend off, and then Misano.
From there, the schedule gets really tough. There is a weekend off after Misano, and then Aragon and Thailand back-to-back, another weekend off and then the Australasian triple-header of Motegi, Phillip Island, and Sepang. There is a final free weekend after Sepang, and then Austin, Argentina, and Valencia on three consecutive weekends.
There is good reason to believe this will not be the final version of the calendar. The logistics of getting material in and out of Termas De Rio Honda is incredibly difficult, making a trip from Austin to Argentina to Valencia extremely tough to achieve. The last time Argentina was back-to-back, there were problems getting all the equipment needed to the circuit on time. Adding Argentina after Austin also puts two races between Sepang and Valencia, while Sepang’s contract guarantees that it will be the penultimate race.
However, by postponing everything until the end of the year, it gives Dorna breathing to wait and see how the coronovirus outbreak develops. The situation is changing incredibly quickly, making planning almost impossible at this point. We have already had three updated calendars in seven days, and two updates on consecutive days.
Dorna can now focus on trying to make the (now) first scheduled round of the year happen at Jerez, on May 3rd, by whatever means possible, perhaps even running it behind closed doors. By the time we get to the summer break, there will be a much clearer idea of what is happening in the world.