Qatar MotoGP class cancelled over coronavirus quarantine restrictions

The Qatar MotoGP will run without the premier MotoGP class after Qatari authorities impose a 14 day quarantine on any person travelling from Italy

Qatar MotoGP

The opening round of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship in Qatar has been cancelled after the nation brought in travel restrictions in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

A spike in cases in Italy – where several teams, riders and personnel are based – has prompted the Qatari authorities to impose restrictions on those travelling from the European nation, with a 14 day quarantine required for any person arriving from there.

As such, the Qatar MotoGP event, which was scheduled to take place on March 6-8 will go ahead with only the Moto2 and Moto3 classes racing. This is because the teams are already based at Losail for their pre-season test.

The news comes just days after Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta reiterated there would be no disruption to the event, nor that of the following round in Thailand. As it stands, the Buriram event is due to go ahead, but in what is an ever-changing situation, it too could be compelled to impose a quarantine on all people travelling in from Italy.

Full statement from Dorna

FIM, IRTA and Dorna regret to announce the cancellation of all MotoGP™ class sessions at the Grand Prix of Qatar, including the race.

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has resulted in Qatar travel restrictions being brought into force that affect passengers from Italy, amongst other countries. As of today, all passengers arriving at Doha on direct flights from Italy, or having been in Italy in the past 2 weeks, will be taken straight to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. Italy clearly plays a vital role in the Championship and in the MotoGP class - both on track and off - and therefore the decision has been taken to cancel premier class competition.

As the teams and riders of the Moto2™ and Moto3™ classes were already in Qatar for the three-day official test at Losail International Circuit earlier this week, the races of both categories will be possible. The lightweight and intermediate classes will therefore compete in their season opener from the 6th to 8th March. The same will apply to the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, which will have two races during the Qatar Grand Prix as originally planned. Stay tuned for a revised schedule.

As it stands, the second WorldSBK round – which was due to take place in Qatar a week after the MotoGP showcase – could still go ahead as the participating teams have been racing in Australia, though it will likely stop any Italian personnel or riders from being able to return home in the interim or face the same issues.