Officially, the first race of a disrupted 2020 MotoGP season is due to take place in Austin, Texas from April 3-5.

But few would be surprised if COTA now follows in the footsteps of round one in Qatar (cancelled for the premier-class) or two in Thailand (postponed, until October).

Although no coronavirus cases have yet been recorded in Austin, a statement issued on Wednesday declared a 'local state of disaster' to 'more proactively increase preventative measures and require mitigation plans for events in the region'.

As a result, 'Events with 2,500 or more people are prohibited unless organizers are able to assure Austin Public Health that mitigation plans for infectious diseases are in place. Each event will be evaluated case-by-case.'

The first major event to fall victim to the heightened restrictions is the South by Southwest festival, due to take place from March 13-22.

Austin Mayor Steve Adler said: “We have declared a local disaster and associated with that have issued an order that effectively cancels South by Southwest for this year.”

'SXSW' drew in an estimated 75,000 people last year, which compares with a weekend total of 120,000 spectators (47,000 for race day) at the COTA MotoGP round.

Should COTA be either cancelled or postponed there is little time to find an alternative for the April 3-5 weekend and so the opening 2020 MotoGP race would presumably be pushed back to April 17-19, in Argentina.

On the eve of this weekend's Qatar Grand Prix - which is still going ahead for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes since teams and riders were already present before quarantine restrictions were placed on recent visitors to Italy - Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said:

"As of today, both the United States and Argentina are okay. But I cannot say what happens in the future."

And since the bulk of the MotoGP season is held in Europe, beginning with Jerez on May 3, that remains Dorna's biggest concern.

"The thing is after the United States and Argentina we will be in Europe and that’s the most critical part," Ezpeleta explained.

"Today, some of the authorities [in Europe] have banned certain sizes of spectators coming together and there is the situation inside the paddock regarding nationalities that have been forbidden [from travelling].

"We are thinking of solutions for both those things… when any measures do come, we have some ideas to react to these measures.

“Contractually with the FIM [we must do] 13 races, but our aim is to do all 19 remaining races… Maybe we will race in hot countries at Christmas!

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

Latest 2020 MotoGP Calendar

Round

Date

Race

Circuit

1

8 March

Qatar* (no MotoGP class)

Losail International Circuit

2

5 April

Americas

Circuit of the Americas

3

19 April

Argentina

Termas de Rio Hondo

4

3 May

Jerez

Circuito de Jerez - Angel Nieto

5

17 May

France

Le Mans

6

31 May

Italy

Mugello

7

7 June

Catalunya

Circuit de Barcelona - Catalunya

8

21 June

Germany

Sachsenring

9

28 June

Netherlands

TT Circuit Assen

10

12 July

Finland**

KymiRing

11

9 August

Czech Republic

Brno

12

16 August

Austria

Red Bull Ring - Spielberg

13

30 August

Great Britain

Silverstone

14

13 September

San Marino

Misano

15

27 September

Aragon

MotorLand Aragon

16

4 October

Thailand

Chang International Circuit

17

18 October

Japan

Motegi

18

25 October

Australia

Phillip Island

19

1 November

Malaysia

Sepang

20

15 November

Valencia

Comunitat Valenciana - Ricardo Tormo

*Evening race.

**Subject to circuit homologation

 

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