PARIS: The start of the MotoGP season has been pushed back to June 21 at the earliest after organisers on Tuesday postponed the Italian and Catalan Grands Prix races due to the coronavirus.
The Italian MotoGP was scheduled for May 31 with Catalunya fixed for June 7, but both have been pushed back with no new date. Last week organisers postponed the May 17 French MotoGP after previously calling off the Spanish event set for May 3.
The decision brings the number of postponed races to seven, while the March 8 first round in Qatar was cancelled.
The next three legs of the 2020 calendar in Thailand, Texas and Argentina have all been put on ice, with Dorna, the series promoter, hoping to run them in the second half of a season which has been extended for two weeks to November 29.
Italy and Spain, where a majority of the riders and teams come from, are the two European countries worst affected by the virus, with more than 16,000 deaths in Italy and 13,000 in Spain.
“The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the Gran Premio d’Italia Oakley and Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya,” MotoGP said in a statement.
“The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the two events to be rescheduled. As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for these GPs as well as the recently postponed French and Spanish GPs, cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events.”
MotoGP added that a revised calendar will be published “as soon as available.”
The first race of the season is now scheduled for Germany on June 21.
Published in Dawn, April 8th, 2020