The ongoing coronavirus outbreak worldwide has taken its toll on yet further sporting events with Dorna Sports and the FIM jointly announcing the cancellation of both the Australian and British MotoGP races for 2020.
The reasons given for the cancellation of both events, according to a joint statement, was given as both the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and resulting calendar changes to the MotoGP schedule, which organisers say have obliged them to cancel both events.
The British Grand Prix was set to take place from the 28th to the 30th of August at Silverstone Circuit. Silverstone hosted the first Grands Prix held on the British mainland from 1977, and MotoGP returned to the illustrious track ten years ago. 2020 will now sadly mark the first year MotoGP sees no track action in the British Isles for the first time in the Championship’s more than 70-year history.
“We are extremely disappointed about the cancellation of the British MotoGP event, says Silverstone’s Managing Director Stuart Pringle. “Not least as the cancelled race in 2018 is still such a recent memory, but we support the decision that has had to be taken at this exceptional time.
“I want to thank the stoic British fans for their patience and support. We must now look forward to 2021 when Silverstone will once again host the fastest and most historic MotoGP race on the calendar and work hard to make it a truly exceptional event for all to enjoy.”
The cancellation of the British Grand Prix also means the cancellation of the corresponding British Talent Cup track activity at the same event.
The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix was set to take place at the legendary Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit from the 23rd to the 25th of October. Phillip Island hosted the very first Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in 1989 and since 1997 has been the only home of MotoGP™ Down Under - with its unique layout providing some of the greatest battles ever witnessed on two wheels.
“We’re very disappointed that MotoGP fans throughout Victoria, Australia and internationally won’t get the chance to make the pilgrimage to see the world’s best riders compete on one of the best circuits anywhere in the world, but the right decision has been made, says Paul Little AO, Australian Grand Prix Corporation Chairman.
“The Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix puts Phillip Island on the global stage and it’ll be back better than ever in 2021.”
From an organisational standpoint, it seems that there was no choice but to cancel the events regardless of whether the host countries have Covid-19 under control by August. According to Dorna Sports’ CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, there was no way to make the calendar work with the inclusion of the British and Australian GPs as scheduled.
“We’re saddened to have to announce the cancellation of these iconic events after finding no way through the logistical and operational issues resulting from the pandemic and rearranged calendar, he said. “Silverstone and Phillip Island are always two of the most thrilling race weekends of the season, with both tracks never failing in their promise to deliver some of the closest racing in our Championship.
“On behalf of Dorna, I would like to once again extend my thanks to the fans for their understanding and patience as we wait for the situation to improve. We look forward to returning to Silverstone and Phillip Island next year for more incredible battles."