MotoGP races in Argentina, Thailand and Malaysia this year have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic but one more race will be added to the calendar and held in Europe in November, organisers announced yesterday (July 31).

A number of races have been axed this season due to the coronavirus outbreak, including the Qatar, Dutch, German, Finnish, British, Australian, Japanese, Italian and American rounds.

“The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the cancellation of the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina, OR Thailand Grand Prix and Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in 2020,” MotoGP said in a joint statement with the governing FIM and teams’ association IRTA.

“After the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, another race weekend will take place from the 20th to the 22nd of November at a venue in Europe, becoming the 2020 season finale.”

The host venue in Europe has not yet been decided and will be confirmed on Aug 10.

Promoter Dorna Sports added that the Thailand Grand Prix will remain on the MotoGP calendar until at least 2026 and that they had started work on discussing possible dates for races in Argentina and Malaysia next year.

Thailand’s three-year-old contract with Dorna expires this year and the government has given the green light for the country to seek another five-year deal.

The first two races at Chang International Circuit in Buri Ram were both won by Honda’s Marc Marquez.

The third Thailand Grand Prix was originally scheduled for March but was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The Thai authorities had wanted to host the event in November.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said: “We are delighted to add another Grand Prix in Europe to the 2020 calendar, and reveal our new agreement that will see MotoGP racing in Thailand and Buri Ram until at least 2026.

“The racing in Buri Ram has been incredible since the venue joined the calendar in 2018.

“We are very much looking forward to returning to Thailand, Argentina and Malaysia next year and as always, I would like to thank the fans for their patience and understanding.”

The season restarted earlier this month with back-to-back races at the Jerez circuit in Spain.

The country will host seven races as part of the revised European calendar while four more circuits are set to host double-headers.

Malaysia’s Sepang International Circuit is the longest serving venue of the three and first hosted MotoGP in 1999.

Fabio Quartararo of Yamaha leads the world championship standings after winning the first two races in Jerez while Maverick Vinales, also of Yamaha, is second, 10 points behind.

Defending champion Marquez is yet to open his account after crashing in the season-opening race and missing the second race after failing to recover from surgery to a broken arm.

The championship will now feature a total of 15 events instead of the 20 initially planned. The next race is scheduled for Brno in the Czech Republic on Aug 9. reuters/bangkok post


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