With the ongoing coronavirus forcing MotoGP organisers to reshuffle the 2020 calendar, Carmelo Ezpeleta says nothing has been ruled out to deliver a full campaign including racing until Christmas.

MotoGP has seen its Qatar Grand Prix premier class race cancelled and the entire Thailand round rescheduled to late October amid current travel bans aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

Organisers released a new 2020 MotoGP calendar, including the Qatar round this weekend which will host only Moto2, Moto3 plus the Asia Talent Cup support class, with the official start of the premier class of Grand Prix racing taking place at the United States round on April 3-5 at Circuit of the Americas.

Ezpeleta remains adamant MotoGP’s organising body Dorna will aim to complete a full 2020 campaign but concedes with the CONVID-19 situation changing day by day its plans must remain adaptable. Ezpeleta also confirmed MotoGP must complete a minimum of 13 rounds to count as a world championship season under FIM rules.

“Contractually with the FIM there are 13 races but our aim is to do 19 remaining races,” Ezpeleta told the media at the Losail International Circuit. “There are possibilities that even in the worst case, even with more cancellations that we will have time. Maybe we will race in hot countries at Christmas!

“We are like that, our duty is to make races and we will do races. I was talking with the FIM President today, who is coming tomorrow, and maybe they need to postpone the FIM Prize Giving ceremony [scheduled for November 21-22] but the most important thing for us is to make races.”

Ezpeleta revealed MotoGP had attempted to push back the United States round and bring forward one of its Spanish races, thought to be Aragon, to help free up space later in the year to ease race congestion, but its plans were halted by logistical problems bringing forward a race to late March at a short one-month notice.

As a result, the Aragon round has been moved forward by just one week (September 25-27) to accommodate the rescheduled Thailand round on the 2-4 October. It leaves a one-week break before the traditional triple-header flyaway rounds in Japan, Australia and Malaysia.

While its new 2020 race calendar remains in place, Ezpeleta acknowledges further disruption from the coronavirus outbreak and potential travel bans could force further changes.

“Everything is possible,” Ezpeleta explained. “The most important thing for us is to have any solution all together with everything. We say always that Dorna, in agreement with IRTA and FIM, is a company that makes races and this is our obligation despite any other things.

“For us it is more important than the economical side or whatever. It is to make races, I assure you with the collaboration with IRTA, the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 team managers we will try to do as many races as we can.

“I will not say now if I am optimistic but the only thing I promise to you is that we will work hard for any solution to happen make the 19 remaining races.”

But for now, the Qatar Grand Prix for the top category remains cancelled for this season without a feasible slot available for the foreseeable future.

“Qatar MotoGP race is cancelled. It is clear, all the teams here in Moto2, Moto3 and MotoGP will receive [payment] because they already spent the money to come here. The MotoGP race is cancelled because we have no other opportunities,” he said.

“Also, Qatar is committed to make it work for next year and they need to start as they are already contracted.

If, at the end of the season, there is a possibility then we will see. But today we will have Moto2 and Moto3 races this weekend and in principle the Qatar MotoGP is cancelled.”

Despite MotoGP’s intentions, Ezpeleta also accepts it is bound by government decisions on travel bans and coronavirus protection procedures as it plans for any eventuality.

“We are together, we are talking to all the people around the world. We will try to do the championship. The first article we have with the promoters is to respect the laws of the country,” he said.

“If there are laws in place, we can do nothing, if the law forbids us to go anywhere we won’t continue, when the law permits it we think in the future to change.

“Our aim as FIM, IRTA and Dorna is to maintain the championship with the maximum number of races. The rest we will take measures like here at the Losail International Circuit regarding the presence of the people, spectators about being in the paddock, regarding the possibility about something happening because if it was to happen, with some cases in the MotoGP paddock, we are prepared to create the specialists equipment.

“We have the local authorities, the World Health Organisation all connected to try to do the maximum thing. The main interest from our side is to tell everybody that we want to do the Grand Prix and I am sure we can do it.”

The full updated 2020 MotoGP calendar can be found here.

 

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