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MotoGP races may go behind closed doors as Thailand date confirmed for October

By Rob Lancaster
Thailand GP to take place on October 4

Madrid, March 6: MotoGP races could be held behind closed doors during this season as the coronavirus outbreak continues to force changes to the 2020 schedule.

The season-opening race in Qatar was cancelled due to travel restrictions on those arriving on direct flights from Italy, though the Moto2 and Moto3 races will still be staged as scheduled this weekend.

Thailand, which was originally due to host round two on March 22, has now been given a new date later in the year, with its race to take place on October 4 at the Chang International Circuit in Buriram.

Speaking to the media, Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, whose company is the commercial rights holder for the sport, made clear the intention is to make sure races go ahead – even if that means stopping spectators from attending at some venues.

Thailand MotoGP postponed due to coronavirus

"Everything is possible," Ezpeleta said when asked about racing going ahead behind closed doors. "The most important thing for us to have a solution that covers everything.

"We say always that Dorna, with the agreement with FIM [International Motorcycling Federation] and IRTA [International Road-Racing Teams Association], is a company who makes races. And this is our obligation despite any other things.

"For us the most important, more than economy or whatever, is to make races. I can assure you with all the people of IRTA and all the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 managers, we will try to do as many races as we can.

Qatar MotoGP cancelled due to coronavirus

"I will not say now that I am optimistic, but the only thing I can promise to you is we will work hard for whatever solution has happened, to make the races. The 19 remaining races."

Ezpeleta confirmed the minimum number of races as part of Dorna Sports' contract with the FIM is 13, adding: "Even in the worst case, with lots of cancellations, we have time.

"Maybe we will race in countries where it's hot at Christmas, but our duty is to make races and we'll make races. Maybe they'll need to postpone the FIM prize-giving ceremony, but we'll make races."

With Thailand switched to the first week in October, the race in Aragon has been shifted forward to September 27.

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Story first published: Friday, March 6, 2020, 0:00 [IST]
Other articles published on Mar 6, 2020
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