At present, MotoGP still intends to run all 19 of its remaining rounds this season, following the cancellation of Qatar.

But with coronavirus cases in Europe still on the rise that looks increasingly impractical.

The latest speculation is that the start of the season is set to be pushed back by at least a further month, until June at the earliest.

Scrapping the July summer break also now seems inevitable, but even so, some races will surely have to be dropped to avoid an exhausting run of successive events for riders and teams.

One side effect of a reduction in races, and figures as low as 10-12 rounds have been mentioned should the coronavirus crisis run deep into the summer, is that the MotoGP engine change limits may need to be adjusted.

At present, the non-concession manufacturers (Honda, Ducati, Yamaha and Suzuki) are allowed seven engine changes per rider, per season. In other words, they need to plan for each engine lasting on average the equivalent of 2.9 events (20 race season).

But if the number of races drops to 15 for example, each engine would then only need to last 2.1 events. If 10 rounds, it would become 1.4.

Concession teams Aprilia and KTM are allowed nine engine changes.

While engine design is frozen as of today (March 25), if the number of races is slashed this year, manufacturers would naturally spot a chance to gain performance by raising the rev limit, for example.

But consistently pushing engines beyond their intended limit is a step into the unknown and obviously increases the risk of a technical problem. That not only creates added danger for the riders but, should fluids be dropped, lengthy delays for track cleaning.

Should multiple events be cancelled, one solution would be to reduce the number of engines allowed this season, to maintain the original event/engine ratio.

"At this moment, nothing changes [as far as engine numbers]," technical director Danny Aldridge told the official MotoGP website.

"Dorna are working hard to keep a full calendar. That's obviously an ongoing situation and we are taking it day-by-day, like Dorna.

"If the races are reduced, we could re-evaluate the [engine] situation.

"But at the moment it's the same amount of engines this season: For non-concession manufacturers seven, concession manufacturers KTM and Aprilia nine."

Currently, Jerez on May 3 is listed as the planned start date for the 2020 season.

 

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