MotoAmerica poised to go racing again… but how will it work?

The first example of a post-coronavirus motorcycle racing event takes place this weekend... but how will it work under strict social distancing measures?

Moto America Suzuki Toni Elias

While we wait patiently for Dorna to confirm new schedules for the MotoGP and WorldSBK Championships, the USA-based MotoAmerica series is poised to hit the ground running later this week with the first example of a social-distanced race meeting.

Though the United States is still in the grips of the coronavirus crisis – reporting nearly 100,000 deaths from more than 1.7m cases as of writing - the belated opening round of the season is due to take place at Road America this weekend.

However, it won’t go ahead without strict safety measures in place to reduce physical contact and keep numbers present down, with organisers releasing a detailed document on the do’s and don’ts.

It is a format that is likely to be keenly watched by the likes of Dorna – and series’ such as the British Superbike Championship – for whether it is a workable model that it can replicate.

Either way, the measures are likely to be a guide for what we can expect when the season gets back underway, most probably in July. You can view the full document HERE.

No spectators
Quite clearly, the event will go ahead behind closed doors with no spectators present, a measure MotoGP has confirmed will be the case for its championship when it starts

Social distancing
Teams must be provided with a floor area of at least 4,000sqm to allow team members to observe social distancing (2 metres) from one another wherever possible. On the occasions where this is no possible – mechanics working on the bike, for example – then the use of masks will be mandatory

Meetings to be conducted virtually
Rider briefings and meetings must be conducted virtually online to minimise the risk of having a group of people together in a single space.

Podium celebrations and press conferences
Podium celebrations will be allowed to take place but on a specially built structure to keep the three riders apart sufficiently. At the end of a race, only three riders, a team representative for the winner – to put the bike on the stand before leaving – and authorised personnel will be present in the designated area. Anyone watching the podium celebrations must wear a mask, riders will be interviewed using an extended microphone to maintain social distancing and trophies will be sanitised beforehand. Press conferences in the green room will involve one interviewer and one camera person. There will be no champagne celebrations.

Technical inspections
Teams nominate two members to take the bike to inspection and may only enter a designated area one at a time – lines will be drawn to maintain distance at all times. Masks and gloves must be worn at all times, with MotoAmerica inspectors required to change their gloves and use disinfectant after looking at each bike.

There will be four gates that allow entry and exit whilst maintaining a social distance and masks must be worn at all times. Bikes will be launched from the paddock, rather than the pit-lane, from the start of the session.

Start of a race
Quick-start procedures will be observed at the beginning of races, which means only one team member is allowed on the grid with the rider and bike.

Only essential media will be permitted to attend the event (most likely TV crews) with the media centre at Road America expanded to allow for social distancing. Media interviews will be arranged to take place electronically.

Medical care
If a rider is admitted to the medical centre, only one medical provider will be present per patient to treat them.

Finally, all present personnel are required to sign a waiver of liability and a COVID-19 waiver electronically before entering the facility. It will enforce the ‘Stay at home’ message if someone is feeling effects of coronavirus.