Marc VDS team owner Marc van der Straten gave an interesting analogy when asked about the 2020 motorcycle grand prix restart, at Jerez next month, taking place without fans and in a closed-door paddock.

“You could say it's like selling caviar in a cardboard box," quipped the Belgian.

"It's a real shame that we can't count on the presence of the public cheering on the riders from the grandstands and that the usual bustling paddock will be practically deserted.

"But first things first, and in this case it's everyone's health. Let's hope the situation improves and we can finish the season enjoying that unmistakable atmosphere in every corner of the tracks.”

Nonetheless, van der Straten felt 'immense joy' at the publication of the new calendar, following so much uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“Although I knew about the steps that the organisation was taking to restart the competition, I received the confirmation of the new calendar and resumption of the Championship with immense joy," he said.

"After four months without racing, our desire to hear the engines roar and to give everything on the asphalt has multiplied to the nth degree.

"No doubt it's going to be a strange and different season, but it's an important step forward in getting back the World Championship that we all know and look forward to.

"Undoubtedly, regaining the smile of riders, technicians and fans after these hard months is the best news.”

The current version of the revised 2020 calendar features 13 rounds at eight European circuits, not counting Qatar on March 8. A decision on up to four flyaway rounds will then be made by the end of July.

“It is true that it is not ideal and that it is far from what we expected at the beginning of the year. It is also true that the calendar may have been blank," van der Straten said of the revised line-up.  "I am very grateful for all the effort and work that Carmelo Ezpeleta and his entire Dorna team have put into making the best possible schedule under the circumstances.

"It is the task of titans to combine legislation and regulations from different countries, to ensure the safety of athletes and members of the paddock family by making difficult and unpopular decisions and to reinvent attractive competition, despite the continued uncertainty everybody is facing.

"But they have managed to do it and have presented a calendar with a total of 14 events so far at eight different circuits. Moreover, the possibility of racing outside Europe has not yet been ruled out, which would be great news in every respect.”

Returning to a food analogy, van der Straten said of the highly-controlled paddock environment planned for Jerez:

“There are many health measures and prevention at all levels, a limit on technicians in the teams, no audience, closed paddock, etc. It's not a tasteful dish for anyone to have to work like this, but as I said before, we must stay with the positives and see it as the first step in returning to normal.

"On the other hand, it will be interesting to see the adaptability of riders and teams to this new situation, such as repeating races on the same track [Jerez, Austria, Misano, Aragon and Valencia]. You’ll see who has the ability to learn from a Grand Prix and implement improvements immediately on the same stage one week later.”

Unlike the MotoGP class, Moto2 - where Marc VDS are the reigning champions - got to take part in the Qatar season opener.

But it wasn't a particularly memorable start for the team's all new line-up, with Sam Lowes forced out due to previous shoulder injuries and Augusto Fernandez crashing early on after contact with Stefano Manzi.

"Our goal remains unchanged: to give our best and to aspire to giving our maximum," van der Straten said of the season ahead. "We want to add podiums and wins and why not, a fourth Moto2 title.

"However, at times like these, with everything that has happened on a global level, getting a smile back and making all the fans of this fantastic sport happy by doing what we know best is already a great motivation.

"And if we then smile for the pleasure of achievement after a job well done, it will be wonderful.”

He added: "A lot of things have changed and so will this Championship. Fewer tracks, fewer races, also less room for mistakes, more intensity and perhaps more equality.

"It will be a different value, but the champion will be champion. And that's what riders and teams in all categories will be chasing."

 

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