June 3, 2020 / 1:39 PM / a month ago

Motorcycling-MotoGP sets end of July deadline for non-European races

LONDON, June 3 (Reuters) - MotoGP has set an end of July deadline to decide whether this year’s coronavirus-hit championship will be confined to Europe or expand to Asia and the Americas, CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said on Wednesday.

The only long-haul races yet to be cancelled due to the pandemic are ones in Thailand, Malaysia, the United States (Texas) and Argentina.

Ezpeleta told the MotoGP website www.motogp.com that commercial rights holders Dorna hoped to present an initial calendar next week to start the season at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain on July 19.

“The latest race on that calendar will be at the beginning of November, with 12 or 13 rounds,” he said.

“Races outside of Europe is something we need to decide, still. There will be a number of races presented – the four non-European races that have not been cancelled... for which we will search for approval.

“We have a deadline of the end of July to tell everybody if we continue with them or stop. After the first two races we will see if the calendar will be 12, 14 or a maximum of 16 rounds,” added the Spaniard.

Races in Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Britain and Australia have been cancelled so far.

The four Spanish circuits of Jerez, Aragon, Catalunya and Valencia are expected to be on the initial calendar with some having more than one race.

Paddocks will be isolated, with around 1,300 people from teams in MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3.

Moto2 and Moto3 were able to start their season in Qatar in March because they were already there for testing but MotoGP was unable to race due to quarantine restrictions. Many of the teams and riders are Spanish or Italian. (Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge)

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