The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that caused the opening round of the 2020 MotoGP season to be cancelled, along with seven other races being postponed since, has posed unrelenting challenges for the championship in numerous ways.
Dorna Sports have revealed how the travel bans enforced made it a complex situation, and how the freight has now finally been repatriated to Europe, with the final flight arriving into Spain yesterday.
A statement reads as followed: “The QNB Grand Prix of Qatar took place just as much of the world began to see travel restrictions brought into force to limit the spread of Covid-19, changing the face of the world almost instantly and creating some complex logistical challenges for the MotoGP™ World Championship. Compounded by the fact that the premier class were unable to return to Losail International Circuit and yet their equipment remained in Doha following the earlier test held at the venue, there were three classes of freight for MotoGP™, team and DHL logistics personnel to pack and repatriate to Europe – a task that has now been completed.”
“Initially a normal timetable was maintained upon completion of the Qatar GP, ensuring all the material was put on pallets and ready to fly to its next destination within a regular timeframe. Under normal circumstances, the freight would have then travelled to the next GP on flights leaving in the subsequent days, but this time it was instead put into storage at Doha airport awaiting more updates on where it would next be required and when. Thanks to partner Qatar Airways; highly-secure, automated and climate-controlled space was provided for the freight at Hamad International Airport – crucial for much of the material as it was protected from both humidity and any changes in ambient temperature, keeping it safe and secure.”
“With flights repatriating material from Doha to Spain in extremely high demand, Dorna Sports then worked with Qatar Airways to secure the five flights of freight that were required to repatriate all the material. The first was able to begin returning the goods on the 1st of April, followed by the second and third on the 8th and 10th of April, respectively – all of which landed in Zaragoza. A flight to Barcelona on the 12th of April then completed four fifths of the task before the final flight landed in Zaragoza on Wednesday the 22nd of April to complete the repatriation.”
“Once each plane load of material was back in Europe, it was transferred to a secure storage facility in Catalonia on arrival. Some of it will be kept in storage awaiting the next Grand Prix, including much of Dorna’s equipment, whilst much will now be returned to those who have requested it be transferred to their own facilities for storage.”
“Once the date and location of the next Grand Prix are confirmed, Dorna Sports and logistics partner DHL will resume normal service to continue transporting MotoGP™ around the world.”
The next scheduled Grand Prix on the revised calendar is the German event at Sachsenring on the 21st of June.
While it’s clear that this remains a delicate situation, news on when and where the next race will be, is expected soon as many countries in Europe still remain in lockdown.