The bigwigs at MotoGP have announced the Malaysian GP is canceled, scratching one more event from a 2021 schedule that’s already been hacked to bits.
Of course, the cancellation is blamed on COVID-19. Here’s an excerpt from the official MotoGP presser:
The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the cancellation of the Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix, which was set to take place at Sepang International Circuit from the 22nd to the 24th of October. The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting entry restrictions for Malaysia oblige the cancellation of the event.
The FIM MotoGP™ World Championship looks forward to returning to Sepang in 2022 to race in front of our dedicated Malaysian fans.
So, no 2021 event, but the circus returns to Sepang next season … hrmmm. We’ve heard that before …
The reality is, although developed countries are rapidly vaccinating their populations, COVID-19 is still very much a factor that restricts attendance at major events like MotoGP, even if the riders and teams all have their shots. COVID-19 also poses a major hassle to international travel and shipping, and that’s the sort of thing you need to run smoothly, if you’re shipping an entire race series halfway around the globe. After Thailand was canceled, it’s no surprise that Malaysia is gone as well.
Instead of Malaysia, MotoGP will head to Misano for a second race (MotoGP is already scheduled for a visit to September for the September 19th weekend). The October 22-24 races will be the last chance for many Italian fans to see Valentino Rossi race in front of his home crowd, so expect a good turnout, even if it’s the second race of the year there.
With Malaysia canceled, we’ve got to ask: What about the GPs in Texas and Argentina? With MotoGP already scheduled for Austin in spring of 2022, will we see them pull the plug on the 2021 race, last-minute? Hopefully not, as we’ve already been without a race in the US for far too long.