MotoGP Postpones Argentina GP Because of Travel Restrictions

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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. Below is the revised calendar:

Date Grand Prix Circuit
March 8th  Qatar* Losail International Circuit
May 3rd  Spain Circuito de Jerez – Ángel Nieto
May 17th France Le Mans
May 31st Italy Autodromo del Mugello
June 7th Catalunya Barcelona – Catalunya
June 21st Germany Sachsenring
June 28th Netherlands TT Circuit Assen
July 12th Finland** KymiRing
August 9th Czech Republic Automotodrom Brno
August 16th Austria Red Bull Ring-Spielberg
August 30th Great Britain Silverstone
September 13th San Marino e della Riviera di Rimini Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
September 27th Aragón MotorLand Aragón
October 4th Thailand Chang International Circuit
October 18th Japan Twin Ring Motegi
October 25th Australia Philip Island
November 1st Malaysia Sepang International Circuit
November 15th Americas Circuit of the Americas
November 22nd Republica Argentina Termas de Rio Hondo
November 29th Comunitat Valenciana Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo

Source: MotoGP

David Emmett

One of MotoGP's most respected journalists, David Emmett is the proprietor of the esteemed MotoMatters. We are very grateful to republish David's work here on A&R...though dread the day we ever again get in a car with him.