Today (Thursday), Franco Morbidelli should have been in Buriram, Thailand preparing for the second round of the 2020 MotoGP World Championship.

Instead, like his fellow Italians and an increasing number of Europeans, the Petronas Yamaha star is confined at home to help avoid the spread of coronavirus, the fallout from which has already disrupted the opening four MotoGP events of the season.

“At the moment in Italy we have to stay at home, the restrictions are mainly that you don’t leave your house unless it is to buy food or for some other important matter," Morbidelli said. "This has been since last Monday, so it is over a week now, but I hope that the situation is going to end soon.

“I am training in the only way possible at the moment, at home. I’m trying to stay in shape but without leaving my house. I can go running if I stay within the land boundaries of my household so I am doing that, but not much more. Of course it is not my usual training routine that I do at the gym, but I am staying in shape and staying sharp.”

Aside from keeping fit, Morbidelli is fending off the boredom by learning to play some musical instruments: "It’s not easy!! I need to practice a lot! Maybe by the end of this thing I will be able to play the harmonica and ‘cajon’.”

Otherwise, he can only advise his fellow countryman to try and be patient, listen to the experts and make the most of a difficult situation.

“My message to all the Italian fans and people in the same situation around the world is to stay calm, take it easy, and respect what the World Health Organisation says.

"We should try to enjoy the time we are at home and get the maximum from it. We can do things at home that we usually don’t have time to do.”

Exactly how much longer the lockdown conditions continue, and when Morbidelli will be back on his M1, remains unclear.

The MotoGP calendar currently lists Jerez from May 1-3 as the new start date, but that looks increasingly unlikely.

“For all the MotoGP fans: we are having a little bit of a rest right now but hopefully we will be on track soon," Morbidelli said. "When we are, we’ll be able to go back to doing our thing with even more power and energy than before!”

Although MotoGP's Qatar opener was cancelled it still went ahead for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes since they were already present at Losail following their final pre-season test.

Morbidelli was watching on TV as his Sepang team-mate John McPhee came a close second in the Moto3 race.

“I did watch the races in Qatar, John was awesome!" Morbidelli said. "He had a great race and was able to get the second spot, so that was good.

"It was nice to be able to follow Xavi and Jake in Moto2 and also John and KIP in Moto3 but I was also a bit sad, as I wasn’t there.

"I could follow my friends and cheer for them without the pressure of a race [but] it was mixed feelings, as you have the feeling that you are supposed to be there.”

Morbidelli had taken his A-Spec Yamaha to second fastest at the final MotoGP pre-season test, in Qatar.