The coronavirus has struck another blow to the MotoGP Championship calendar for 2020, with news today that the British GP round at Silverstone, as well as the Australian GP round at Phillip Island have been canceled.
The news comes as a disappointment to the MotoGP paddock, and it means that this year will mark the first time in 70 years that grand prix racing will not take place in the United Kingdom.
“We are extremely disappointed about the cancellation of the British MotoGP event, not least as the cancelled race in 2018 is still such a recent memory, but we support the decision that has had to be taken at this exceptional time,” said Stuart Pringle, Silverstone Managing Director.
“I want to thank the stoic British fans for their patience and support. We must now look forward to 2021 when Silverstone will once again host the fastest and most historic MotoGP race on the calendar and work hard to make it a truly exceptional event for all to enjoy.”
Similarly, the canceled Phillip Island round means one less chance to see racing outside of Europe this year, which for the MotoGP Championship in 2020, there is a very possible reality that the series will not leave the European continent this year.
It was hoped that the position of having Phillip Island later in the calendar (the race originally scheduled for October 25th) would mean that fears from the coronavirus would subside by then, but the re-opening plans for Australia seem to preclude any such hope.
“We’re very disappointed that MotoGP fans throughout Victoria, Australia and internationally won’t get the chance to make the pilgrimage to see the world’s best riders compete on one of the best circuits anywhere in the world, but the right decision has been made,” said Paul Little AO, Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman.
“The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix puts Phillip Island on the global stage and it’ll be back better than ever in 2021.”
The 2020 MotoGP Championship calendar is almost certain to see further changes as the weeks tick by. Be sure to keep your ears out for more announcements – both about rounds being canceled, but also rounds being confirmed and scheduled.