New 2020 MotoGP calendar being drawn up to start in July

Plans are coming along to get the 2020 MotoGP season up and running from July, albeit with a skeleton crew and no spectators present

Franco Morbidelli - Petronas SRT Yamaha 1200

A realistic 2020 MotoGP World Championship calendar starting from July may be getting closer after Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta revealed plans to run skeleton crew races without spectators are making progress.

The coronavirus pandemic has thrown this season’s championship into disarray with various lockdown measures around the world restricting both movement and opportunities for large crowds to gather at events.

However, though Ezpeleta had warned the season was at risk of being cancelled unless a vaccine could be found, the rhetoric has become more upbeat in recent days amid radical new plans that would see the season get up and running using a different format.

Indeed, though various postponements – most recently Finland - means the current start date is August 9 at Brno in the Czech Republic, the steady easing of restrictions in some European countries means July is becoming a realistic start date for one of the seven events without a calendar slot right now (Jerez, Le Mans, Mugello, Catalunya, Sachsenring, Assen and KymiRing).

In order to achieve this Ezpeleta will run the MotoGP events without spectators and with a much-reduced crew of around 1,300 people across all four classes. It would then use a combination of double-headers and travelling to other European nations initially by road to get around some of the airborne travel restrictions.

It is hoped then that by the Autumn it will be able to complete its flyaway legs to Asia and the Americas.

“We have seen different scenarios and the most optimistic is to start in the end of July,” Ezpeleta told BT Sport. “Then it will depend on the situation but we will need to take care of two things; one is any individual countries that can allow us to do it when the doors are open and the second is the possibility of travelling from one country to another.

“In principle we will concentrate on making a championship in Europe starting in July or August with races and, depending on what the situation is, then we will consider the possibility of going elsewhere at the end of the year, if the countries allow us to do it, but always finishing on time.

“This is the best-possible scenario and every day I am thinking how it will be possible. Maybe making two consecutive events in the same circuit and then move to another. In Europe we can move by car and then it is more possible. The scenario we are looking at right now is to start in July and finish by November.”

“We consider the most likely scenario right now is without spectators because we don’t think it will be possible unfortunately, unless there is a vaccine or whatever is possible,” he said. “It will be difficult to have spectators otherwise. We are considering which circuits are available to organise races without spectators.

“We will consider doing all three categories, and MotoE also, and what we are doing is working with IRTA and the teams to work out what is the maximum number of people in the paddock. We think it will be around 1,300 or something like that to be controlled and having tests for everybody if it is possible. The most important thing will be to make races and show them on television.”