The decision was taken at the beginning of the season, as Covid-19 gripped Italy, that the MotoGP class would not run at the #QatarGP, leaving the Moto2 and Moto3 riders to open the season. Fans across the world could never have imagined that we would reach the month of May and not have seen another race since. The biggest decision that Dorna, IRTA and FIM faced would be to postpone or cancel?
As all Grand Prix seemed to get further and further away, the #ThaiGP was postponed until October 4th; #AmericasGP postponed until November 15th; #ArgentinaGP postponed until November 22nd and #ValenciaGP being pushed back until November 29th. The announcements came thick and fast: the #SpanishGP, #FrenchGP and #ItalianGP postponed; the #GermanGP along with the #DutchGP and the brand new #FinnishGP would be cancelled.
Dorna announced that, with the agreement and full commitment from shareholders (Bridgepoint Capital and CCP Investments), they would be able to provide financial support for class independent teams across MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 throughout these uncertain times. Through IRTA the Independent MotoGP teams will each receive advance payments during the months of April, May and June.
Grand Prix fans would delight in the news that Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta, announced that talks had been held in relation to proposing two MotoGP races at Jerez in July, as well as a World Superbike Round. Ezpeleta said, “Yesterday we had a meeting, the Vice President of the Regional Government of Andalusia, the Mayor of Jerez and I, and agreed the conditions to propose holding two MotoGP events and one Superbike event there, on the 19th and 26th of July and the first weekend of August, respectively. We agreed the conditions and how we could run that, and our idea is to propose to the Spanish government the possibility to do these events following a protocol we are creating.”
Dorna are proposing a test on the Wednesday prior to the first Grand Prix weekend at Jerez. Dorna are going through similar procedures with the governments in each country. They hope to be able to propose a new calendar by the beginning of June. Dorna will also try to wait for the F1 calendar, in an effort to avoid any clashes.
It is no great secret that at World Championship level, money talks. Sponsors invest a lot of time and money into their team of choice. Whilst IRTA and Dorna have made efforts to support the teams financially, the money may eventually run out if an agreement to start racing cannot be reached in the very near future. This would leave many of the smaller, privately funded teams, in a difficult situation and perhaps unable to continue to compete.
MotoGP runs a successful VideoPass in order to allow exclusive access for fans to different types of content. However, with no racing the amount of content has decreased dramatically, and some areas have been made free to the public, striking another blow to the earning capacity of the MotoGP franchise. Whilst the Virtual Grand Prix efforts have given fans something to look forward to, and an insight into the home lives of their favourite riders, it has only served to make fans and riders more eager to get back on track.
As we await an announcement that the double #SpanishGP will go ahead, with our fingers crossed, we will continue to enjoy the #VirtualGP weekends and the increased social media activity of our favourite riders. A double-header under the Spanish sun would take an immense amount of pressure off all parties involved in MotoGP and bring delight to competitors and fans alike.