Italian and American Coronavirus outbreak threatens new MotoGP season opener

by Robert Jones

Where do we begin, on what should have been the opening Grand Prix for MotoGP riders and teams, yet more uncertainty surrounds the new season.

A unique start to 2020 for all the wrong reasons, seems set to continue after new lockdown measurements have been taken in Italy due to coronavirus.

The new season set to begin in Austin, Texas. Is in serious doubt as the Italian government announced plans to impose strict quarantines on several regions including Lombardy, where the Yamaha MotoGP team is based. 

The province of Pesaro e Urbino, where Valentino Rossi is based along with his ranch in Tavullia, is also on lockdown. 

However, it’s not the whole of Italy, as Ducati headquarters in Bologna is not one of the places currently suffering from the virus.

This also means no travel interference surrounds their rider’s Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci

This comes a day after one of the biggest music festivals of the year in America was cancelled in Austin. 

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Why is this crucial information for MotoGP? Well, there could be travel restrictions leading into early April, which would all but rule out the season from beginning at the Circuit of the Americas. 

There has been suggestions to allow people with serious work reasons to leave, but there has been no indication yet about whether or not this will be the case for MotoGP team personnel or riders for that matter.

The news comes after MotoGP already cancelled their opener in Qatar, due to the country imposing an immediate 14 day quarantine for all travelling from Italy over one week ago.   

With the race at the Losail International Circuit abandoned completely, the Thailand Grand Prix which was due to be the second round of the year, has been moved back to October.

The race will replace Aragon, which moves forward a week to the 27th of September. 

A new calendar issued by MotoGP organisers Dorna Sports on Thursday currently has Austin starting on April 5th, but if recent events are to continue, then we could be in for an even longer wait.

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