Jerez circuit shuts down as Spain declares ‘state of emergency’

The Circuito de Jerez shuts its gates for 15 days in response to the coronavirus but warns it could remain closed right up to include the MotoGP round

MotoGP start Jerez

The Circuit de Jerez has confirmed a provisional ban on track action for the next 15 days as a response to the coronavirus and are prepared to extend it further enough to put its Spanish MotoGP round at risk.

With motorsport now almost entirely suspended as the spread of COVID-19 forces higher powers across the world to ban large gatherings and restrict movement in an effort to contain the virus, Jerez has nonetheless remained relatively active in recent days.

However, having hosted a MotoE test as scheduled this week, the venue – located in the south of Spain – has now shut its gates for a provisional 15 days, though according to Speedweek, a team that was due to complete a private test there today was told it could extend to 50 days.

That length of time – to May 1 - puts the MotoGP round on May 1-3 at the cusp of that range, no doubt suggesting the event, which is now due to serve as the season opener following the cancellation and postponement of the opening four rounds, is at imminent risk.

Even so, such has been the unfolding situation over the last two weeks, this is unlikely to come as a surprise to fans having seen several events canned or delayed. However, the FIM and Dorna are now running out of options to reschedule, such is the intensity of the latter half of the year now.

That said, Jerez is one of the most attended MotoGP rounds of the year – and attracts most people out of the four Spanish venues on the schedule – so Dorna will be keen to retain it.

The decision by Jerez comes as Spain announced a ‘State of Emergency’ over the crisis after the national death toll exceeded 100 people. It allows the government more control over introducing measures, such as banning large events with high attendances.

Jerez’s closure is a small blow to the Repsol Honda team, who were set to use the extended off-season to test its RC213V with Stefan Bradl there in the coming days. This was despite KTM and Suzuki pulling out of the same test at a time when Ducati, Aprilia and Yamaha are limited because of their Italian bases.