Coronavirus claims high-profile sport casualty

The MotoGP class will not compete at next weekend’s season-opening Qatar Grand Prix due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Travel restrictions, in response to the deadly virus outbreak, have led to the cancellation of the premier class schedule.

The news was confirmed just a week out from the event, although the Moto2 and Moto3 schedules will go ahead as planned.

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All Moto2 and Moto3 riders and teams are already at the Losail International Circuit, having concluded their final pre-season test at the venue on Sunday.

Qatar announced its first recorded coronavirus case over the weekend, and has now imposed a two-week blanket quarantine on any passengers who have recently visited Italy.

It comes after MotoGP had initially arranged an exemption from some of Qatar’s entry restrictions for passengers from Italy and Japan.

The premier class will not visit Losail under lights this year.Source:Getty Images

An FIM Statement read:

Due to Qatar travel restrictions brought into force affecting passengers from Italy (amongst other countries), the premier class will not race at Losail.

FIM, IRTA and Dorna regret to announce the cancellation of all MotoGP class sessions at the Grand Prix of Qatar, including the race.

The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has resulted in Qatar travel restrictions being brought into force that affect passengers from Italy, amongst other countries. As of today, all passengers arriving at Doha on direct flights from Italy, or having been in Italy in the past 2 weeks, will be taken straight to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. Italy clearly plays a vital role in the Championship and in the MotoGP class – both on track and off – and therefore the decision has been taken to cancel premier class competition.

As the teams and riders of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes were already in Qatar for the three-day official test at Losail International Circuit earlier this week, the races of both categories will be possible. The lightweight and intermediate classes will therefore compete in their season opener from the 6th to 8th March. The same will apply to the Asia Talent Cup, which will have two races during the Qatar Grand Prix as originally planned. Stay tuned for a revised schedule.

Andrea Dovizioso rides during last year’s Qatar race.Source:Getty Images

Rumours have also surfaced that the second round of the season, to be held in Thailand across March 20-22, could also be dropped. The United States (April 3-5) and Argentina (April 17-19) events are also up in the air.

Formula 1’s Chinese Grand Prix, which was to be held in Shanghai across April 17-19, has already been scrapped due to the crisis – but the maiden Vietnamese Grand Prix is set to go ahead across April 3-5.

Effects on future events will now depend on the entry restrictions imposed by local governments.

Should the Thailand, United States and Argentina races be cancelled, the MotoGP season may not get underway until the first race of the European season leg at Jerez across May 1-3.

Originally published asCoronavirus claims high-profile sport casualty

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