More Shutdowns, MotoGP Hosts a Virtual Race and Global Pollution Drops

Since the Coronavirus started to spread there have been many production shutdowns from manufacturers all over the world. From Ducati in Italy to Harley here in the U.S. now Indian has joined in. Races of all kinds have been suspended or canceled for the season, but some have found ways to still help their fans enjoy their racing. MotoGP is one hosting a virtual race soon. The biggest thing is the Drop, in Global Pollution. AMERiders gives you info on all these stories.

A Week after Harley Shutdown Indian does the same

A week after Harley-Davidson announced it would suspend production in the U.S., Polaris now confirms that it will also temporarily shut down two oversea facilities and five U.S.-based plants, including the Spirit Lake Indian Motorcycles plant. About 650 workers are affected. 

The other facilities affected by the shutdown are located in Roseau, Minnesota; Osceola, Wisconsin; Huntsville, Alabama; Battle Ground, Washington; Monterrey, Mexico; and Opole, Poland.

Indian now becomes the 2nd motorcycle giant in the U.S. to stop/halt/pause production.

MotoGP hosting a Virtual Race

We know that esports aren’t the same as on-track MotoGP action. Still, as some other motorsport series like F1 have already demonstrated, it’s still great to see your favorites go head-to-head in a live event. That’s why will host its first-ever Virtual Race on Sunday, March 29, 2020. Fittingly, they’re calling it the #StayAtHomeGP, and as long as you have a working internet connection, you should be able to watch it from wherever in the house you’re sitting.  

The action starts on March 29, 2020, at 15:00 (GMT +2), which is 11:00 Eastern Daylight Time. You’ll be able to stream on,, and across the MotoGP social media network. It will also be shown on some TV stations (presumably, whichever ones usually show MotoGP racing in your locality), so check your local listings for more details.  

We don’t know for sure exactly who will participate, but MotoGP specifically mentions Maverick Viñales, Fabio Quartararo, Alex Rins, and Marc Márquez by name. Hopefully, it’ll be more than just the four of them hanging out in their respective basements, drinking Mountain Dew, eating chips, and throwing controllers on the ground when someone ragequits. Incidentally, the game they’ll be playing is the official MotoGP video game from developer Milestone. 

The virtual race will take place at Autodromo del Mugello, and will last for six laps. To qualify, all participants will take part in a five-minute qualifying time attack to work out who ends up where on the grid. Both qualifying and the actual race will be shown via streaming and any TV stations that are airing this MotoGP event, so we should get to see it all.  

It’s unclear whether any racers will also be wearing headsets during play, which could make the event extra entertaining. However, most racers now seem to have pretty solid media training, so it’s doubtful we’d suddenly find out that the MotoGP paddock has its very own Kimi Räikkönen-type DNGAF personality within the ranks. Still, you never know! As ever, I live in hope. 

A Stiff Drop in Global Pollution during the pandemic

It’s evident that the spread of COVID-19 has negatively impacted financial markets worldwide. The global pandemic has forced shelter in place orders in the US and abroad and halted production for many industry drivers in the name of containing the virus. With manufacturing limitations in place, corporations, small businesses, and individual workers are struggling to cope with the economic toll of the outbreak.  

While the situation is dire for many, commercial shutdowns have led to a vast reduction in pollution worldwide. However, looking to history, the lull in greenhouse gas emissions likely won’t last long.

Location-data company Inrix reported that US traffic volume fell by 30 percent in March. In California, where vehicular pollution levels require more stringent emissions standards (CARB), cars on San Francisco’s roadways reduced by 50 percent. Inrix calculated that New York, Michigan, and California saw the largest drops, reducing traffic figures by 37 percent.  

The cutbacks were even more drastic internationally. Traffic in Italy plummeted by 65 percent and NASA reported that nitrogen oxide levels across central and eastern China have fallen by as much as 30 percent.  

Of course, the drop in traffic volume directly affected the air-pollution levels and major metropolitan areas like Los Angeles, Seattle, New York, Chicago, and Atlanta have experienced major emissions dips as a result. Columbia University measured a 50 percent decline in carbon monoxide in the past week alone. 

Though the data sets are encouraging for an ever-changing climate, historians believe that the pollution pause will be short-lived. Citing the Great Recession of 2008 and the oil crises of the 1970s as past examples, experts believe that the emissions figures will rebound with the economy once the novel coronavirus outbreak recedes.  

“I won’t be celebrating if emissions go down a percent or two because of the coronavirus,” said Stanford University environmental scientist Rob Jackson in an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “We need sustained declines. Not an anomalous year below average.” 

To help businesses regain their footing, countries like the Czech Republic have already requested the easing of European Union zero carbon emissions plans and some airlines are rolling back emissions-reducing policies. With unemployment on the rise and businesses on the brink, easing regulations seem like a surefire solution but at what cost to the environment? 

Only time will tell if the pollution levels skyrocket to pre-COVID-19 times, but as motorcyclists, we can only enjoy the reduced traffic volumes for now. Just remember to stay safe out there and keep two wheels on the pavement, the last place you want to be right now is a hospital.

I would love to see a this drop in Global Pollution stay around for an even longer time. However, that may not be the case if we don’t pay attention to what caused the Global Pollution in the first place.

~And as always…

~Live Free Ride Hard~




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