The 2020 MotoGP season is set to lose another round of the championship after a Thai government official confirmed it would be postponing the event due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
On Sunday MotoGP bosses confirmed the season-opening Qatar GP would be cancelled, making Thailand the first stop on the calendar, but the country’s Deputy Prime Minister and Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul released a statement confirming the event would have to be postponed.
“It is necessary for us to postpone the Thailand Grand Prix 2020 in Buri Ram scheduled for late March, for an indefinite period since Covid-19 has been declared a dangerous communicable disease which has had a world-wide impact.
“This is to reflect the government’s seriousness in tackling the problem. The prime minister has been informed about this.”
Initially Anutin said the event would go ahead as planned just a couple of days ago, but changed his stance, citing how quickly things are changing.
“The problem is that things change every day, and now we are talking about a pandemic,” he added.
MotoGP organisers Dorna released a statement soon afterwards confirming that the Thai event would be postponed indefinitely, although they are “evaluating if an alternative date is available for later in the season.”
“As the global outbreak of coronavirus continues to develop, the Thai government has communicated that it won’t be possible to hold the OR Thailand Grand Prix on its original date,” read the statement from Dorna.
“The FIM, IRTA and Dorna therefore regret to announce that the event, due to be held on the 22nd of March in Buriram, has been postponed.
“The FIM, IRTA and Dorna are currently evaluating if an alternative date is possible for the event later this season.”
The news means the MotoGP season is likely to start with the Grand Prix of the Americas on April 5 pending any travel restrictions the US might impose in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile Moto2 and Moto3 are still set to race in Qatar as their equipment and personnel are already present following the recent test, but the Thailand postponement also covers the two junior series.
Formula E and Formula 1 have both postponed their Chinese rounds and a decision is expected in the coming days on whether the season-opening Australian GP will go ahead as planned, though organisers insist it will.