Possible no major races will happen in 2020 - Ezpeleta

"It’s better to have a small number of races than to sit at home"



8 April 2020 - 13:30
Possible no major races will happen (...)

MotoGP boss Carmelo Ezpeleta admits that top motorsport categories may not be able to race at all in 2020.

Like F1, MotoGP’s race postponements because of the coronavirus crisis are now pushing into June. But unlike F1, MotoGP chief Ezpeleta is not necessarily holding out hope that a healthy number of races will ultimately be able to be held.

"If we imagine today that we only manage three races, it would be a very strange championship," Ezpeleta told Speed Week.

"But why not? For me it’s better to have a small number of races than to sit idly at home.

"But if we can’t handle the events with proper health considerations, if that can’t be guaranteed, we won’t risk anything. Nothing at all," he said.

"We don’t have to fool ourselves," Ezpeleta continued. "The governments and health authorities will not allow us to run a grand prix.

"If we’re unlucky, all the races will be cancelled. We are at war. It is conceivable that there will be no world championship in 2020.

"The situation in Spain is very bad, in Italy and France too. Until we have vaccines to stop the spread of the virus, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, to organise grands prix or other major events."

However, onlookers are busily analysing the coronavirus infection ’curve’ and the deaths, and hoping that widespread lockdowns will steadily improve the situation.

But Ezpeleta said: "Even if life normalises a bit, the travel bans will remain in force in all countries. If they aren’t, that would be crazy.

"So it will not be possible for a large number of people to watch a football match live, or attend a MotoGP race or any other major event.

"I am not very confident, even if we continue to work hard on it, that we will have the opportunity to run the 2020 GP season. We are considering all conceivable solutions but I would be surprised."

In F1, the contracts state that there must be at least eight races for official world championship status. In MotoGP, that number is reportedly 13.

Ezpeleta said: "The contract is not a problem because there is a ’force majeure’ clause. So if we have fewer races, I don’t worry. We can still choose world champions.

"If we get the opportunity to restart the world championship, we will do it. It doesn’t matter how many races we manage.

"But it is important that the safety and health of everyone involved is guaranteed. If someone gets infected at one of our events, we will be blamed forever.

"We can survive if we have to completely cancel the 2020 season. If we have to accept this worst case scenario, we will prepare for the 2021 season in good time and conscientiously.

"At the moment it is also a priority that we help the teams survive 2020 financially. We pay out money every month, even if there isn’t a single race."

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