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On the 29th of April, Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta sat down with motogp.com to discuss the latest on where the 2020 MotoGP™ World Championship stands. Below are the key points from what Ezpeleta said, including a targeted start date at the end of July.
1. A potential start date
“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.”
2. The first Grands Prix to be cancelled, not just postponed
“Today (April 29th) we announced the cancellation of the three Grands Prix; Germany, Assen and Finland. The reason is because we are contemplating the possibility to start in July but the problem is with the situation and authorities it will be difficult to do with spectators, so any of these Grands Prix without spectators is very difficult to do. It’s for that reason that we’ve decided with the three local promoters and to pass onto next year with those three, instead of putting them on a new date.
“This is the situation. This coronavirus problem is something we’ve never seen and so, unfortunately, it’s not a possibility. The authorities of the Netherlands have forbidden events until the end of August and so it’s completely impossible. After that in Assen, it will be difficult to organise a Grand Prix and more difficult again without spectators.”
"Our idea right now is to start racing at the end of July"
3. Conversations with riders and teams
“We have regular contact. Two weeks ago we had a meeting with all the manufacturers together and we decided the technical situation for 2020 and 2021 for the three categories. Then I’m speaking regularly with everyone about our plans for the near future. We are doing that. Some of the riders call me and I’m happy to discuss the situation with them. I must say that everybody is healthy and looking forward to starting as soon as possible. They understand that the situation is different and everybody’s happy to try to start as soon as we can, but in a safe manner. The first program we are thinking of the possibility to move by car if necessary but I think that by July, with many safety measures, it will be possible to fly within Europe.”
4. Multiple races at the same venue?
“We are considering that. To do maybe - not during the same race weekend - doing two consecutive race weekends at the same circuit.”
5. Covid-19 testing protocol at the circuits
“We are working just on the 10,00 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. This is the idea. We are working with another company which belongs to Bridgepoint to acquire these 10,000 tests.”
6. Number of paddock personnel attending races in 2020
“We talked to the teams and arrived at a consensus that maximum number for a MotoGP manufacturer team will be 40, for satellite or independent teams will be 25, 20 for Moto2 and 15 for Moto3. Then there will be, of course, all the people who produce the television signal; all this crew, then the minimum number of people from Dorna who are in charge of race organisation. This will give us an average of around 1600 people. This is a possibility to control the MotoGP family. Unfortunately at the moment will be no media and no TV. Maybe, but not sure, maybe some photographers to supply images to everybody.”
7. Very few cases of Covid-19 in the MotoGP™ community
“We are very busy but very happy to try to do that. The most important thing is to try to keep the situation under control. We are also extremely happy because there have been very few cases of Coronavirus in the MotoGP family and all of them, so far, have been resolved well. This is the most important thing.”
8. A message to the fans
Our main thing is to maintain our fantastic numbers regarding the interest in MotoGP around the world. Unfortunately this year it seems it will not change during the season. 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.”
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