2020 MotoGP start target for Brno, won't double up with WorldSBK

Dorna sets itself a target of Brno in August for the 2020 MotoGP World Championship to begin, albeit without spectators present

MotoGP practice start (1200)

Dorna has set a new target of August to get the 2020 MotoGP World Championship underway in the Czech Republic as it pushes ahead with a plan to run with a skeleton crew and without spectators.

Last week the commercial rights holder approached teams to discuss the feasibility of running events under strict quarantine-style measures that would see only necessary staff present at events, stripping out the presence of spectators, media, hospitality and sponsors.

It is hoped by getting the racing underway and at least securing TV exposure, it’ll ease the financial pressures facing the teams as they wait to go racing.

To date nine MotoGP events have either been cancelled (Qatar), rearranged (Assen, Thailand, USA, Argentina) or postponed indefinitely (Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello, Catalunya). However, the de facto ‘opener’ of Sachsenring has also requested a new date be arranged, while the following rescheduled Assen also says it doesn’t expect its event to go ahead.

That would turn attentions to Finland on July 12, but the coronavirus pause means changes to the new KymiRing required to secure homologation have been unable to take place.

As such, Brno on August 9 appears the more likely starting point for this new format, giving Dorna more than three months to formulate a plan. From there, the season could be limited to events in close proximity to reduce logistic pressures.

“You could start from there [Brno] and run according to the current schedule,” Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta told Onda Cero. “And it would be a marvel, because it would mean that we have overcome the health crisis, and that we can run.

"[The season] would run in Europe in September and October, because going further would be impossible from a meteorological point of view. Being able to travel, from November to mid-December you could go outside Europe, adding to those that are already on the calendar some of those postponed , reaching a total of 10 races. Obviously, the last race would no longer be in Valencia but in a warmer country.”

MotoGP and WorldSBK won’t share race weekends

One solution being floated that would see both MotoGP and WorldSBK competing on the same race weekend has been quashed, however.

While Dorna has been actively working to get MotoGP underway, it is feared the coronavirus pause could be potentially critical a WorldSBK series already struggling for healthy grid numbers.

However, Ezpeleta has ruled out the prospect of the two series’ coming together on the same weekend, pointing out that different sponsors and TV deals makes it impossible to integrate.

"MotoGP and Superbikes cannot race in the same event in any way. The insurmountable problem is that the individual events are sponsored by different sponsors, perhaps even from competing brands - it is completely impossible to put them together. The SBK will have its own schedule as soon as we succeed to clarify the situation. "

However, despite talk of running two MotoGP events on one weekend, Ezpeleta says the plan remains to run all three classes (MotoGP/Moto2/Moto3) when racing gets underway.

"We talked about it with the houses, some of which participate in different categories, and the hypothesis has been discarded. If they allow us to run we will do it with all three categories, reducing staff to a minimum. Also, because, given that higher earnings for the category come from televisions, we still have to offer a show characterised by a certain duration. "