To understand why the MotoGP year is being pushed as far as – potentially – January 2021, it’s important to understand that the minimum amount of racing rounds needed for a series to be a World Championshiop is 13. 12 is a World Series.
Bearing that in mind then, you can appreciate the somewhat desperate tone to FIM President Jorge Viegas’ latest comments about the impact Coronavirus – and the measures being put in place worldwide to combat it – is having on the MotoGP racing year.
Whilst Viegas’ latest ideas come in the wake of the cancellation of the MotoGP opening race in Qatar, the moving of the second round entirely from Thailand in March to Thailand in October and now the impending possible cancellation of the USA round at COTA, Texas on April 3-5 – the whole air of what he’s saying is sounding increasingly panicked.
Speaking to Catalunya Radio, Viegas was talking as MotoGP is waiting to hear the decisions of both Dorna and the FIM around the USA’s round. We told you how the Mayor of Austin, Texas (where the Circuit of the Americas track is located) has initiated a State of Emergency affecting gatherings of more than 2,500 people. The move looks like forcing MotoGP to either move the round, cancel the round entirely or run the round but without any fans able to attend. With all this going on, Viegas talked about the championship possibly extending to Janaury, 2021, running rounds with two races for each class over a weekend (the double headers like WSB’s original format) and even drafting in the Portimão circuit, even thought that wasn’t on the original calendar for 2020.
Viegas said: “The chances of the United States Grand Prix being held on April 5 are very few. Anyway, we are already working to find alternative dates for the race in Austin. But at this moment things are evolving so fast that we cannot say more.
“Right now I have total confidence that the championship will have more than 13 races.
“If we have to run in January, we will.
“We can celebrate two great prizes the same weekend (in the same circuit) or run behind closed doors. All that if there is no other solution. In the current situation there are no taboos. You have to be flexible and have imagination.
“Portimão is a reserve circuit, it is there just like Estoril. In Portugal there are no restrictions.”