Bengaluru, July 6: The ongoing travel restrictions and logistical challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic has forced MotoGP organisers to cancel the Australian Grand Prix from the 2021 calendar.
The Australian GP was scheduled to be held at the Phillip Island circuit on October 24.
With Phillip Island GP dropped from the 2021 FIM MotoGP World Championship season, the Malaysia GP has been advanced by a week and will now be held on the same dates as that of the cancelled Australian GP (October 24) while the Algarve circuit in Portimao, Portugal (November 7) has been added to the calendar.
"The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and resulting travel complications and logistical restrictions mean it hasn't been possible to confirm the viability of the event at this time, and it'll therefore not feature on the 2021 calendar. The FIM MotoGP World Championship looks forward to returning to race in front of the Australian fans at the spectacular Phillip Island circuit in 2022," a joint statement by stakeholders -- Dorna Sports, FIM and IRTA -- said.
The Australian GP has fallen victim to the country's tight border controls. The Formula 1 race to be held in Melbourne, the 21st round of FIA World Championship, has also been cancelled due to similar reasons.
This is the second year in a row that Australian GP is being dropped from the FIM MotoGP World Championship calendar as a fall out of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australian GP Corporation Chairman, Paul Little summed up his feelings, "We're terribly disappointed that for a second consecutive year. MotoGP fans won't see the world's best riders compete at the wonderful Phillip Island, including Australians Jack Miller in the MotoGP class, and Remy Gardner, who's currently leading the Moto2 world championship."
"We're also disappointed for our staff, suppliers and partners, as well as the Phillip Island community and associated tourism industry that relies on the economic boost which comes with staging the event."
It was only recently that the MotoGP calendar was revised with the cancellation of Japanese GP at Motegi.
The Malaysia GP will now follow the Thai GP, which was recently rescheduled after Motegi was dropped from the calendar.