MotoGP

MotoGP riders gear up for the Stay At Home GP but Rossi drops out

The inaugural Stay At Home GP will feature 10 MotoGP riders battle it out - from self-isolation - in an online racing battle at virtual Mugello

It’s not quite the event we’d normally look forward to but at a time when it is impossible to get a race bike turning in real life, this weekend’s MotoGP star-studded Stay At Home GP may well best we can hope for in the near future.

On Sunday March 29 at 15.00 CET (14.00 GMT), ten of the riders that would have lined up for the 2020 MotoGP World Championship will go head-to-head – from their homes – in an online sprint race at Mugello using the latest official video game.

These include defending champion Marc Marquez and his brother Alex Marquez, plus Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales and Fabio Quartararo, Suzuki’s Alex Rins and Joan Mir, KTM’s Miguel Oliveira and Iker Lecuona, Ducati’s Pecco Bagnaia and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

However, after being confirmed initially, Valentino Rossi won’t be making a ‘sort of’ home soil appearance after withdrawing having previously admitted he is not the strongest gamer (but he does say to watch out for Bagnaia…).

While it’s all good timing from a marketing perspective ahead of the video game’s launch, there is a serious element to this. Mugello’s choice is no coincidence – it is located in Italy, the nation hit hardest by the coronavirus, while the name of it reflects the universal hashtag urging people to remain indoors until the virus has abated.

Moreover, MotoGP is taking it seriously enough to encourage broadcasters to show it all live, though with a five-minute qualifying session followed by a 6-lap race, it won’t be quite as enthralling as an actual race. But it could be entertaining…

Click here to get our thoughts on the role eSports is set to play in this racing break.

“All of us are living in a difficult moment so it will be really nice to have some fun and bring some action to the fans,” said six-time World Champion Marquez.

“We are doing this for all of the people who love MotoGP, to give them something nice during these incredibly hard days, thanks to the other riders and the championship for putting this together. I have been remaining at home, still training as much as I can while staying safe.

“Alex and I enjoy playing the MotoGP game together but now we must be a little more serious about it. No matter what we are racing, as riders we want to win! With the race only being six laps I think we can go full aggression and push the whole way. I’m looking forward to doing some racing!”

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