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MotoGP CEO explains reasoning behind delayed start to 2020 season

MotoGP Of Malaysia - Qualifying

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - NOVEMBER 03: Carmelo Ezpeleta of Spain and Dorna CEO looks on during the Press Conference and signing ceremony Sepang International Circuit and Yamaha Motor Company before the qualifying practice during the MotoGP Of Malaysia - Qualifying at Sepang Circuit on November 3, 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (Photo by Mirco Lazzari gp/Getty Images)

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Coronavirus concerns have caused MotoGP to cancel the season-opening Grand Prix of Qatar and postpone the Thailand Grand Prix, but the 2020 season will still go on, according to Doma Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta.

“There will absolutely be a 2020 MotoGP season,” Ezpeleta said. “We will try to continue with everything and stay aware of the situation because it’s changing day by day, but our wish is to do all the races in the 2020 season.”

Ezpeleta said that the decision to cancel the season-opening race was due to the fact that all residents arriving in Qatar from Italy (where many of MotoGP’s teams and riders are from) will be quarantined in the nation for 14 days due to concerns over the virus.

“Obviously that’s not possible for our people, and this was what led us to cancel the MotoGP category at the Grand Prix of Qatar,” Ezpeleta said. “Because Moto2 and Moto3 have been testing this week in Qatar, it’s possible to continue with the Championship but only with Moto2 and Moto3, as well as the Asia Talent Cup.”

Following the cancellation of the race in Qatar, the second round of 2020 season was then postponed as the nation seeks to control the virus by canceling ‘big events with large numbers of spectators’.

“It’s different to the situation with Qatar, so we decided to postpone the Thailand Grand Prix and try to locate a date at the end of the year to make the GP possible,” Ezpeleta said.

With the Qatar round canceled and Thailand postponed, the Grand Prix of the Americas on April 5 is currently scheduled as the first race of the 2020 MotoGP season.

Last week, it was announced that NBC Sports Group will be broadcasting MotoGP races during the 2020 season.

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