Reports from Thailand suggest the government is now considering postponing the Buriram round of the MotoGP World Championship, for the second year in succession.

The MotoGP event is currently due to be held on October 15-17, coinciding with a plan to open some parts of the country to entry without quarantine for vaccinated foreign tourists.

However, Thailand is currently experiencing a record number of Covid 19 cases and resulting restrictions which, combined with a sluggish vaccination program, has put the October re-opening in doubt.

As such, and with the MotoGP event not ecumenically viable without spectators, Thai Rath reports that the Thai Ministry of Tourism and Sports are now considering postponing the grand prix until 2022.

After joining the MotoGP calendar in 2018, the 2019 Thai round saw the highest spectator attendance of the season with 226,655 weekend fans, bringing in a total of 3.45 billion baht (95 million euros). Last year's round, like all the non-European events, was cancelled.

Should Buriram withdraw from the 2021 calendar it will also cast doubt on the neighbouring Malaysian event at Sepang, due to be held the following weekend, since it would not make economic sense for MotoGP to fly to Asia for only one race weekend.

The other possibility, should Thailand postpone, is that Sepang could host a back-to-back double header. MotoGP could follow a proposed plan for the (cancelled) Sepang pre-season test, whereby the whole would paddock remain in hotels near Kuala Lumpur International airport and only be allowed to travel back and forth to the nearby circuit.

However, a grand prix would require such 'sealed' accommodation and movement for the Moto2 and Moto3 classes as well as MotoGP, while Malaysia is also fighting a similar Covid surge to Thailand at present, including a strict lockdown in the Sepang area, meaning the major hurdle of making event(s) viable without spectators would remain.

Should Buriram and Sepang be lost MotoGP is likely to try and retain event numbers by adding more back-to-back events at the remaining European rounds or, as in the case of Portimao, making a return visit to circuits used earlier in the season.

The only non-European MotoGP events so far held since the start of the pandemic are the 2021 season-openers in Qatar although COTA is currently scheduled to return on October 3 while Argentina is postponed but not yet cancelled.

2021 MotoGP Calendar

Round

Date

Race

Circuit

1

28 March

Qatar (Evening race)

Losail

2

4 April

Doha (Evening race)

Losail

3

18 April

Portugal

Portimao

4

2 May

Spain

Jerez

5

16 May

France

Le Mans

6

30 May

Italy

Mugello

7

6 June

Catalunya

Barcelona

8

20 June

Germany

Sachsenring

9

27 June

Netherlands

Assen

10

8 August

Styria

Red Bull Ring

11

15 August

Austria

Red Bull Ring

12

29 August

Great Britain

Silverstone

13

12 September

Aragon

Aragon

14

19 September

San Marino e Della Riviera di Rimini

Misano

15

3 October

Americas

COTA

16

17 October

Thailand

Buriram

17

24 October

Malaysia

Sepang

18

7 November

Algarve

Portimao

19

14 November

Valencia

Ricardo Tormo

Postponed Grands Prix:

 

11 April

Argentina

Termas

Reserve Grand Prix Venues:

  

Indonesia (Delayed until 'first part of 2022')

Mandalika

  

Russia

Igora Drive

Cancelled Grands Prix:

 

11 July

Finland (Subject to homologation)

KymiRing

 

3 October

Japan

Motegi

 

24 October

Australia

Phillip Island