Covid-19 has already kept many motorcyclists off the road during the lockdown and while that might now be easing, the motorcycling calendar has still been disrupted in a major way.
Major motorcycle races such as the Manx Grand Prix, the Le Mans 24-hour FIM Endurance World Championship and countless others. Indeed, the list of cancelled or postponed races is pretty staggering. The real victim in all this mess, however, has been the Moto GP.
How has Covid-19 affected Moto GP?
Moto GP is an unashamedly global event and with the global spread of the coronavirus pandemic, the vast majority of races have been outright cancelled for 2020. The first round of this year’s Championship was supposed to start back in March when the proverbial mess first hit the fan.
In the ensuing three months, things have gone from bad to worse, with seven major Moto GP races already cancelled and more falling off that corona cliff edge by the day. But there is a glimmer of hope in all this darkness.
Where there is a will …
Moto GP promoters Dorna have been working overtime in the last few months to attempt to salvage a semblance of a championship, and they believe they have just about managed to do so with 12 races already in the pipeline and as many as 15 potentially being planned overall.
Some European countries are finally starting to open up again so whilst the status of many Asian countries is still up in the air, there is the potential for the rest of the year to focus solely on European races. Indeed, the European part of the racing calendar is scheduled to start on July 19 in Spain, before heading to the Czech Republic and Austria in August. Then, all things being well, it could be on to Italy and France.
Who to watch out for when the season starts
Marc Marquez will be looking to tie Rossi’s nine world championships this season and looks the firm favourite to take the title once again. Devitt Insurance in their blog discussed the potential of young Frenchman Fabio Quartararo being Marquez’s closest challenger. The 20-year-old rider had a strong second half of the 2019 season and topped all three days of testing in Sepang, Malaysia in February. It is good news that the season is going ahead for Valentino Rossi, who now aged 41 is yet to decide if this will be his last season — though he is still eager to be competitive in 2020.
Against the odds
So, whilst to say there has been a bit of a shake-out this year would be a dramatic understatement. Dorna seems to believe that rubber will begin burning once again this summer. So, for those who were hoping to see Marc Marquez fight for his fifth title in a row this year, there may be hope yet.
Moto GP, the pillar of the competitive biking calendar, might just have been saved by some pretty clever planning and a lot of willpower. Of course, the British Moto GP has already been cancelled outright, as has the Australian leg of the championship. But whilst Silverstone might be sitting quietly this year, there is everything to suggest the rest of Europe could be more than making up for it.