The global COVID-19 outbreak has hit motorsports hard, with Qatar’s new travel restrictions, the first MotoGP race of the season was canceled, there have been further shifts in the races schedule and because of Italies extended lockdown there could be a limit on bike production. AMERiders looks into all this for you.
As of March 1, the Qatari government is requiring all passengers who are either arriving from Italy or who have been to Italy in the past two weeks to stay in quarantine for a minimum of 14 days. This is an effort to try to prevent the spread of COVID-19, also commonly called coronavirus, per the FIM, IRTA, and Dorna race organizations.
Circuit of the Americas, the FIM, IRTA, and Dorna all officially announced that the Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas is officially postponed until November 15, 2020. The race weekend will start on November 13.
“With the disruption in international flights serving areas that are home to many teams, fans, freight and competitors, the MotoGP Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas has been postponed until November 15, 2020,” the official announcement post from COTA began.
These shifts in the schedule were also made. The Thailand Grand Prix is officially rescheduled for October 4, 2020, and will now be Round 16 of the championship as the calendar currently exists. With growing global COVID-19 concerns, what the actual 2020 MotoGP calendar will finally look like when all is said and done is anyone’s guess. (My wonder is if the races will even happen this year)
In an interview with Catalunya Radio, FIM president Jorge Viegas mentioned the possibility of staging two races at one circuit over the course of a single weekend if necessary. MotoGP is contractually obligated to run at least 13 races for a complete season. Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta suggested that running events that are televised-only but closed to the public is also a possibility, according to Autosport. It’s worth noting that Formula One is already taking that approach for its 2020 Bahrain GP.
UPDATE: The MotoAmerica races that were scheduled to take place during the #AmericasGP event at COTA will also move to November 2020. Further details will be announced soon, per MotoAmerica.
This is definitely shaping up to make 2020 a decidedly strange year for global sports series.
Italy has extended its lockdown but how does this affect bike production?
Governments around the world are taking increasingly more serious measures to protect their respective populations from the coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic. From tightening border controls to emitting travel bans to canceling events, every country affected by the bug is on high alert. Within a matter of days, Italy became the European epicenter for the disease after the number of cases exploded, now ranking third in the world after China and South Korea. Italian authorities signed an order to limit the movements of a quarter of its population.
The companies Aprilia, Moto Guzzi, and MV Agusta that all have their HQs in the quarantined provinces. Considering Aprilia has its office in Noale, Veneto, Moto Guzzi in Lake Como, Lombardy, and MV Agusta in Schirana, Lombardy, the three companies could see their ranks diminish as people’s movements are limited and controlled. Ducati was the last manufacturer to be affected by the lockdown as it was in northern Italy.
People are allowed to go to work and to run essential errands such as groceries. Employees who have the possibility of working remotely are invited to do so. At a corporate level, companies that rely heavily on shipping and receiving are mainly affected in their delivery process. For instance, truck drivers in charge of picking up and delivering goods cannot step out of their truck without proper protection (masks and gloves). Some Locals describe the streets of Milan—Italy’s business hub—as completely empty.
While the Italian industry is taking a hit, as shown by the dropping stock market, as we write this, there is no mention of a concrete impact on the activities of the biggest motorcycle manufacturers in the country. Italian media SecurAuto reported on March 6, 2020, that Piaggio had taken certain measures—including installing hand sanitizer dispensers, limiting the number of meetings, and encouraging conference calls with external clients and suppliers.
For other companies, such as component manufacturer Brembo, the action plan included restricting access to its facilities for people who have been in direct contact with residents of the affected areas. While the motorcycle manufacturers themselves might not be hit as hard, a slow down at the suppliers’ level could ultimately affect the output in a domino effect, which means the lockdown will affect bike production somewhat.
The global health and travel situations are ever-evolving, so this information could also change several times between now and then. Other international racing series, such as Formula One, are also feeling the effects of this global health concern.
All we can say at this point is Stay safe and stay healthy.
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
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