This is how MotoGP plans to start racing again in 2020

There could be a 2020 MotoGP World Championship season if Dorna is given the green light to enforce strict closed-door measures at events

Fabio Quartararo - Petronas SRT Yamaha [start]

Dorna has begun putting together plans that could see the 2020 MotoGP World Championship get underway this season provided it can assure a safe working environment for those that would need to be in attendance.

After the opening round in Qatar was cancelled for the MotoGP class just prior to the coronavirus pandemic becoming a worldwide crisis, nine events have since been rescheduled or postponed indefinitely.

Attention has now turned to what it would take to get racing up and running again, even if Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta doesn’t rule out the possibility of cancelling the season altogether and focusing on 2021.

However, with the current ‘opener’ now scheduled for Assen on 28 June – after Sachsenring requested a new date due to an extension of the lockdown measures enforced in Germany - Dorna has time to explore the possibilities of getting the season up and running again and has begun running the ideas by the teams.

Earlier this week, an email was sent asking how many people per team it would take to run a skeleton crew during events. This would likely strip out hospitality, sponsor, PR and media attendance, plus some surplus engineers that could realistically complete their work from a remote location.

Dorna is trying to secure testing kits that those in attendance would be required to take twice a day to ensure they aren’t at risk, while their movement is likely to be limited during events.

“We are preparing a protocol together with the relevant authorities, for example the Sports Council in Spain and Italian Olympic Committee, in addition to different laboratories… with which to control the entire grand prix paddock,” Ezpeleta told AS.com.

"We have already commissioned through a company that is owned by Bridgepoint [also owner of Dorna] the possibility of having 10,000 coronavirus tests, to test the entire MotoGP family before and after each day.

"In the scenario that we now contemplate, there would be closed-door races with the least possible personnel at the circuits for everyone, teams and organisation."

Events would then take place behind closed doors with no spectators’ present. Though extreme, the measures are seen as the only feasible way the MotoGP season can get underway again until a vaccine for COVID-19 is found, though even conservative estimates have that at not being widely available for another year.

Ezpeleta says team sizes would range from between 25 and 40 people depending on their size, suggesting around 1,000 people would be at each event if you take MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and possibly MotoE into account.

Is this a sign 2020 MotoGP will get up and running?

It’s reassuring to see Dorna coming up with solutions to a very difficult problem and while it isn’t necessarily ideal, it’s perhaps the most realistic racing outcome in the short-term.

However, it does raise questions as to what would happen if one of those 1,000 or so people were to become infected.

MotoGP is clearly watching Formula 1 closely. The four-wheel series has ramped up its rhetoric in recent days to dismiss the idea of 2020 being cancelled and is working hard to assure fans there will be some action this year.

However, as we have seen from F1 this year, it doesn’t always get it right. It travelled to Australia against the advice or many, only to suffer a few cases and be forced to head straight home again when it became clear it couldn’t take place.

With this in mind, there is a lot of effort that could go into making racing possible but so easy for the whole format to fall apart if just a single person contracts this highly contagious virus.

It then has to answer all manner of questions about how the sport has put its people at risk and Ezpeleta has already said he doesn’t want to be responsible for the problem.
 

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