(Reuters) - The Spanish motorcycle Grand Prix in Jerez was postponed due to the coronavirus on Thursday, pushing the start of the MotoGP season back until at least mid-May with further delays looking likely.
The race at the southern Spanish circuit was scheduled for May 3, followed by rounds in France and Italy on May 17 and 31. It is the fifth round to be called off.
“The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the event to be rescheduled,” MotoGP said in a joint statement with the governing FIM and teams’ association IRTA.
“As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, a new date for the Spanish GP cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the event.
“A revised calendar will be published as soon as available.”
Spain, the country with the second highest number of fatalities from the pandemic after Italy, is due to host four rounds of the championship.
Italy, also in a coronavirus lockdown, has two races. The season-opener in Qatar on March 8 was cancelled.
MotoGP is holding a virtual race this weekend, with a cast of regular riders competing including Honda’s Spanish world champion Marc Marquez.
The race, to be shown on selected TV broadcasters and digital platforms as well as the official motogp.com website, will be six laps around the virtual Mugello circuit using the official videogame and with a five minute qualifying session.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky