The ongoing Coronavirus outbreak has resulted in Qatar enforcing travel restrictions which affects passengers from Italy and many other countries. All passengers arriving to Doha on direct flights from Italy, or who have been in Italy within 14 days are being quarantined immediately for a minimum period of 14 days. As Italy plays a vital role in the Championship and the MotoGP class, both on and off track, the decision to cancel the premier class was made.
As the Moto2 and Moto3 teams and riders were already in Qatar for the 3-day official test at Losail International Circuit, these races are able to run. This weekend the crowds at Qatar will see the Moto2, Moto3 and Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup in their season opener.
With 17 wins, Tom Lüthi is the most successful rider on the Moto2 grid, his closest rival is Jorge Martin, who has 8 victories to his name, all achieved in the Moto3 class.
This year’s Moto2 rookies include talents such as Aron Canet, Marcos Ramirez, Andi Farid Izdihar, Hector Garzo, Kasma Daniel Bin Kasmayudin and reigning Moto3 World Champion, Lorenzo Dalla Porta. As these 6 rookies battle for the accolade of ROTY, all eyes will be on Dalla Porta this weekend as he could become the first lightweight class World Champion to win on his debut in the intermediate class since Dani Pedrosa in 2004.
There are 11 Grand Prix winners lining up for the Moto3 World Championship this season, Fenati, Antonelli, Arenas, McPhee, Pawi, Arbolino, Migno, Masia, Suzuki, Toba and Garcia. At the opening Grand Prix, the youngest Moto3 competitor will be Deniz Öncü, and John McPhee will be the oldest competitor.
This year’s Moto3 rookies include Jason Dupasquier, Jeremy Alcoba, Deniz Öncü, Barry Baltus (currently replaced by Dirk Geiger until Baltus is old enough), Maximilian Kofler, Yuki Kunii, Carlos Tatay, Davide Pizzoli and Ryusei Yamanaka. All eyes will be on the reigning Red Bull Rookies Cup Champion, Carlos Tatay.
Since 2015, Honda riders have won the Moto3 Qatar Grand Prix. The last non-Honda winner was 2014 runner up Jack Miller aboard a KTM. Should KTM take the victory on Sunday this would be their 100th GP victory.
With no premier class racing this weekend, the Moto2 and Moto3 riders have an opportunity to capture the attention of fans around the world, as we begin the battle for the 2020 World Championships.