Sachsenring requests new German MotoGP date, could Austria go ahead?

Germany's extended ban on mass gatherings prompts Sachsenring to request a new MotoGP date - but could the Austrian MotoGP round go ahead?

Cal Crutchlow at the Sachsenring

The 2020 MotoGP World Championship looks set to undergo another overhaul after the German government extended its ban on mass gatherings to put the de facto season opener at Sachsenring under threat.

The German event – originally scheduled as the tenth round of the 2020 season – was installed as the new curtain raiser for the MotoGP class following various reschedules and postponements of earlier rounds in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

However, with any hopes of the season getting up and running restricted by force majeure – nationwide restrictions enforced by national governments – it is anticipated the season will see a number of other changes.

With the German authorities extending the ban on mass gatherings until the end of August, Sachsenring event organisers ADAC have requested a new Autumn date be sourced for this year’s round.

“We are in talks with the MotoGP rights holder Dorna and with the responsible authorities to find a new date for the motorcycle Grand Prix at the Sachsenring,” it said in a statement.

“The health of fans and everyone involved is always the top priority. The purchased tickets remain valid for the new date. We ask our loyal fans for some patience.”

An official postponement of the German MotoGP – one of the best attended of the year - would reinstall the opener as Assen in the Netherlands, an event already re-arranged from a May date to 28 June 2020.

However, there may be some glimmer of hope for the season as some nations begin to ease their various lockdown measures in an effort to kickstart the economy.

Though this varies across Europe – with UK and France among those to extend the stricter stay at home measures – others are slowly beginning to open up, including Austria.

Earlier this week, the Austrian government said it didn’t want to ‘get in the way’ of the Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix, scheduled to take place on July 3-5. It stands to the reason this would also apply to the MotoGP event due to occur on 16th August.

“We don’t want to get in the way,” Werner Kogler, Austria’s Sports Minister and Vice Chancellor, told reporters. “This must then be considered within the framework of the existing restrictions on entry and exit [into the country]. I don’t want to anticipate if an exemption will be needed here or there.”

However, things look less positive for the events just before Austria. Following Assen would be the inaugural race to be held at the KymiRing in Finland, but that event isn’t just threatened by the coronavirus but also by the fact the circuit hasn’t been signed off to hold a MotoGP event.

The venue has undergone changes since a private test a year ago received a lukewarm response from riders but the subsequent lockdown measures mean it hasn’t been able to get the green light from the FIM to host its race as yet.

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