The upcoming World Superbike race weekend in Qatar has been canceled, because of mandatory coronavirus screening for Italian travelers.
The announcement came down from WSB officials earlier today following two MotoGP cancellations in the days before. The Qatar GP race cancellation was announced Sunday (with Moto2 and Moto3 classes still running there this weekend, as those teams were in-country and not affected by Qatar’s travel restrictions). On Monday, MotoGP announced Thailand’s upcoming races would be cancelled as well.
Organizers say they’re working to re-schedule both those MotoGP rounds, and that’s also the claim with the World Superbike cancellation.
Originally, the World Superbike race weekend (two World Superbike main races plus the sprint race, and World Supersport, and other classes) was supposed to run March 13-15 at Losail International Circuit, but Qatar is now requiring a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers coming in from Italy, or with recent visits to Italy. Since so many roadracing teams and personnel are based there, this would affect the Qatar round, as these people would be quarantined instead of attending the event. The WSB press release says it will still be run, but you have to wonder: Where are they going to fit all this racing in?
It would be hard enough to re-schedule a single series, but with both MotoGP and World Superbike criss-crossing the globe and facing cancellations, and sometimes from the same venue (as is the case here in Qatar), things could get tricky. Of course, the problem may all clear up shortly and prove to be a nothingburger. On the other hand, if a couple of more races are cancelled in each series, it will be very difficult to fit everything into a season.
World Superbike is a little less at risk than MotoGP, as it tends to mostly be based on the European continent, and organizers can put together a pretty decent series without going too far from home, providing the EU’s internal borders don’t start closing. But MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta also re-assured his series’ fans today by saying “There will absolutely be a 2020 MotoGP season. We will try to continue with everything and stay aware of the situation because it’s changing day by day, but our wish is to do all the races in the 2020 season.”