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Thailand MotoGP postponed over Coronavirus hours after Qatar axe

Just hours after the MotoGP race in Qatar is cancelled, the entire Thailand MotoGP event is cancelled due to the spread of the Coronavirus

Thailand MotoGP

The Thailand MotoGP round has been postponed indefinitely in an effort to stem the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus, leaving the 2020 MotoGP World Championship schedule in disarray.

Now confirmed by Dorna, the Bangkok Post reports that Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is putting a hold on the event – to be held in the city of Buriram – and it will not take place on the scheduled March 20-22 date.

The newspaper reports the decision to suspend the event was made at a meeting of the organising committee and will be postponed until the outbreak has abated.

"It is necessary for us to postpone the OR Thailand Grand Prix 2020 in Buriram scheduled for late March for an indefinite period since Covid-19 has been declared a dangerous communicable disease which has sent a world-wide impact. This is to reflect the government's seriousness in tackling the problem. The prime minister has been informed about this.”

Dorna says it is 'currently evaluating if an alternative date is possible for the event later this season'.

It comes just hours after the Dorna and FIM were forced to cancel the MotoGP race in Qatar when authorities imposed a travel restriction on Italy in an effort to keep the virus out of its borders. The Moto2 and Moto3 races will go ahead as planned at Losail because they are already stationed there for pre-season testing.

However, this latest move – though not a complete cancellation – will affect all three classes and leaves Dorna with a huge headache going forward too as force majeure is increasingly enacted by authorities to take matters out of the rights’ holders hands.

This is a huge blow to Dorna since the Thai MotoGP round is the highest-attended event on the calendar. Moreover, while its hand was forced when Qatar imposed a travel restriction on Italy, Thailand’s postponement is because of concerns it could spread amongst a large gathering.

Worse still, the United States – where round three is being held in Austin – has also imposed travel restrictions on Italy. However, there is time to exit Italy now and go through the quarantine period before the event.