The French MotoGP at Le Mans has been officially postponed, meaning the 2020 season will now not start until May 31 at the very earliest.
As with the previous Jerez delay no new date has been allocated for Le Mans, which was the most well-attended European round of last year with 206,323 weekend fans, despite event promoter Claude Michy previously citing June 12-14 as a 'fallback'.
'The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the SHARK Helmets Grand Prix de France, which was set to be held at the Bugatti Circuit in Le Mans from the 15th to the 17th of May. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the event to be rescheduled,' read a MotoGP statement.
'As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for the French GP and the recently-postponed Gran Premio Red Bull de España cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events. A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.'
Although Mugello remains listed on May 31 and thus becomes the new opening round, few believe it will go ahead given the current situation in Italy.
The lack of alternative dates for newly postponed events is seen as a precursor to a shortened 2020 race calendar, the exact format of which will only be known once the green light is given for racing to begin.
The most optimistic timeframe is June but July, August or beyond appears more realistic. Even then, events may need to take place behind 'closed doors'.
Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has said MotoGP won't race too late into the winter, to avoid compromising the 2021 calendar, adding that the 13-race minimum often cited does not apply under the current exceptional circumstances...
Latest 2020 MotoGP Calendar (April 2)
Qatar (MotoGP cancelled)
TT Circuit Assen
KymiRing (Subject to homologation)
Red Bull Ring
Circuit of the Americas (rescheduled)
Termas de Rio Hondo (rescheduled)