With the MotoGP 2020 season set to hit the track and kick off the championship in earnest in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic, Dorna Sports CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, sat down with motogp.com recently to debrief a few current events.
What can you tell us about the calendar?
“It has been hard work from our side and from the side of the promoters, finally we obtained these possibilities. Once we had the protocol approved then we are able to propose this calendar. In principle we have some circuits where we will repeat races one week after another, because this is easy for movement and to maintain the protocol, although there are others where we will have just one race. We thought when we ran into the problem of the pandemic, we realized we can do 13 races and then if it’s possible to go outside Europe it will be interesting. The races outside Europe need to be confirmed before the end of July, then also our agreement with the manufacturers and with the teams is to finish the Championship no later than the 13th of December, that means we need to decide which of the races to do, if all of them are possible, and we will decide which races we will have outside Europe. This is something we will put in the calendar as a proposal and we will decide on it no later than the end of July.”
So we’re waiting to see how the pandemic evolves and for permissions from authorities for the final four races at the end of the year?
“We need to wait because as we’ve commented before, to do the races outside Europe it’s necessary to do it with spectators. We are waiting to see the development of health measures in other countries, in the States, Argentina, Malaysia and Thailand, and then we will see what is possible to include in the calendar.”
Could the season, potentially, finish in Malaysia?
“We will see. It’s a possibility, but all the races outside of Europe are pending and we don’t know exactly. If there are no races outside Europe then the Championship will finish like every year in Valencia, if not it depends which races are able to do it but Malaysia is one possibility, yes.”
What more can you tell us about the protocol for going racing?
“The protocol is the hardest one we have. We’ve presented it to everyone. If the situation improves later there could be some changes, but always in agreement with the authorities, but today it’s the protocol we have presented to everyone – from the teams to the FIM, it’s the protocol we will use from the beginning of the Championship.”
And we also have the MotoE calendar now announced…
“Yes. There will be five rounds: two in Jerez, two in Misano and one round in France. The second Misano round and the Le Mans round will have two races.”
Do you have a message for the paddock?
“I wish you all the best possible season. The most important thing is for everyone to take care of their health, and as always, we wish everyone a happy season with no crashes!
The action is set to resume in Spain with the MotoGP class set for its first race this season. Here’s the provisional calendar.
08 March – Qatar* (Moto2 & Moto3 only) – Losail International Circuit
19 July – Spain – Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto
26 July – Andalucía – Circuito de Jerez-Ángel Nieto
09 August – Czech Republic – Automotodrom Brno
16 August – Austria – Red Bull Ring-Spielberg
23 August – Styria – Red Bull Ring-Spielberg
13 September – San Marino e Della Riviera di Rimini – Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
20 September – Emilia Romagna e Della Riviera di Rimini – Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
27 September – Catalunya – Barcelona -Catalunya
11 October – France – Le Mans
18 October – Aragón – MotorLand Aragón
25 October – Teruel – MotorLand Aragón
08 November – Europe – Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo
15 November – Comunitat Valenciana – Comunitat Valenciana-Ricardo Tormo
Americas – Circuit of The Americas*
Argentina – Termas de Rio Hondo*
Thailand – Chang International Circuit*
Malaysia – Sepang International Circuit*
* Events and dates are expected to be confirmed before 31 July. The 2020 season will not finish later than 13 December and will have a maximum of 17 events (including the Qatar Grand Prix).