MotoGP boss talks 2020 calendar, December finish, spectators

Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta explains the process that led to a short 13-round calendar comprising of eight venues and seven races in Spain

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Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has explained the process that led to it revealing a definite 13-round European-based 2020 MotoGP calendar, plus a possible overseas jaunt that would take the season deep into December.

As with all motorsport series’ around the world, MotoGP has been heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic ever since the opening round in Qatar was cancelled just a week before it was due to get underway.

With several races being postponed or cancelled altogether since then, Dorna has turned its attentions to ensuring the criteria to hold 13 races – the minimum number to ensure it is classified as an FIM World Championship season – was met.

Even so, the season will only be run across eight different venues – including seven taking place on Spanish soil – with two races back-to-back at Jerez, the Red Bull Ring, Misano, Aragon and Valencia, plus standalone races at Brno, Catalunya and Le Mans.

Starting on July 15, it means MotoGP will complete five consecutive weekends to kick the season off, followed by a three-week break, before completing the final eight races over nine weekends.

“It has been hard work from our side and from the side of the promoters, finally we obtained these possibilities,” Ezpeleta said. “Once we had the protocol approved then we are able to propose this calendar. 

“In principle we have some circuits where we will repeat races one week after another, because this is easy for movement and to maintain the protocol, although there are others where we will have just one race. We thought when we ran into the problem of the pandemic, we realised we can do 13 races and then if it’s possible to go outside Europe it will be interesting.”

By meeting the minimum requirement, Dorna has deferred a decision on whether four overseas races – in the USA, Argentina, Thailand and Malaysia – can go ahead until the end of July. Of these, the two Asian races look most likely but Ezpeleta admits they won’t go ahead unless they are able to allow spectators to be present.

“The races outside Europe need to be confirmed before the end of July, then also our agreement with the manufacturers and with the teams is to finish the Championship no later than the 13th of December, that means we need to decide which of the races to do, if all of them are possible, and we will decide which races we will have outside Europe. This is something we will put in the calendar as a proposal and we will decide on it no later than the end of July.”

“We need to wait because as we’ve commented before, to do the races outside Europe it’s necessary to do it with spectators. We are waiting to see the development of health measures in other countries, in the States, Argentina, Malaysia and Thailand, and then we will see what is possible to include in the calendar.”

“We will see [if Sepang ends season on December 13]. It’s a possibility, but all the races outside of Europe are pending and we don’t know exactly. If there are no races outside Europe then the Championship will finish like every year in Valencia, if not it depends which races are able to do it but Malaysia is one possibility, yes.”


2020 MotoGP World Championship calendar
RdDATEMotoGP RaceVenue
119 JulySpainCircuit de Jerez
226 JulyAndaluciaCircuit de Jerez
309 AugustCzech RepublicAutomotodrom Brno
416 AugustAustriaRed Bull Ring
523 AugustStyriaRed Bull Ring
613 SeptemberSan MartinoMisano World Circuit
720 SeptemberEmilia RomagnaMisano World Circuit
827 SeptemberCatalunyaBarcelona-Catalunya
911 OctoberFranceLe Mans
1018 OctoberAragonMotorland Aragon
1125 OctoberTeruelMotorland Aragon
1208 NovemberEuropeComunitat Valenciana
1315 NovemberValenciaComunitat Valenciana
14TBCAmericasCircuit of The Americas
15TBCArgentinaTermas de Rio Hondo
16TBCThailandChang International Circuit
17TBCMalaysiaSepang International Circuit