The MotoGP weekend in Austin, Texas, is the latest roadracing event to fall victim to the COVID-19 scare.
Earlier this week, rumours started circulating: As the city of Austin had declared a “local disaster,” despite there being no serious outbreak of coronavirus in the city, the race was said to be in danger. The SXSW music festival was already cancelled, and MotoGP organizers were supposedly even considering returning to race at Indianapolis again, just to make sure there was an American event on the calendar. But, nothing was confirmed until today.
Here’s what MotoGP had to say this morning, via its website:
The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas, which was set to take place from the 3rd to the 5th of April 2020. Due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, the event has been rescheduled for later in the season and will now take place from the 13th to the 15th of November.
The Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana will therefore be held from the 20th to 22nd of November 2020.
Ouch. So, there’s even more juggling of the schedule. The previously-canceled GP race in Qatar has already been dropped off the calendar (Moto2 and Moto3 ran, but the GP racers didn’t, because of travel restrictions for Italian personnel). Now, the Thai GP, which was scheduled to run the March 22 weekend, has been moved to October 3-4, and the Aragon round runs September 26-27.
With today’s news, that’s four MotoGP events re-scheduled and one cancelled already, and the GP class hasn’t even had a single race yet. Last week, MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta did state very strongly that there will be a championship this year, even if it means all sorts of changes, including possibly running in empty stadiums. Who knows where it will all lead? No doubt more interesting times are ahead …