After announcing a proposed 2021 schedule that was more-or-less business-as-usual, MotoGP is hacking the calendar up. Now, the races in the Czech Republic and Thailand have been canceled for this season.
The news comes after the races in Texas and Argentina were postponed last week. It was no surprise to see MotoGP postpone those races, and even the Thai race was a bit iffy. All those races rely on international air travel, and that’s just not convenient these days; sometimes, it’s flat-out impossible. However, the Czech race will come as a bit of a surprise to some.
Last year, MotoGP focused on European races, and managed a fairly decent schedule by the end of the year. So why cancel the Brno round? As David Emmet explains it, this is one case where the coronavirus pandemic isn’t to blame. The problem is Brno’s degraded track surface. MotoGP riders told Emmet the track is just too bumpy, and with funds low due to the pandemic, and paving expenses high, it might be a while before the Czech track is resurfaced.
Most interestingly, Emmet drops some hints from the riders that we may be looking at a season opener in Spain, not Qatar as usual. That would sadly be unsurprising. Inter-European travel is easy, and don’t be shocked if MotoGP decides to focus on racing on a single continent once again for 2021.
A note on that Thai race: Although the 2021 race was canceled, MotoGP said the contract with Buriram was extended another year, so the five-year deal continues through 2026 now. Expect riders to return there once the silliness surrounding international travel has died down.