In a normal situation, the MotoGP riders would be in Qatar today, preparing their offices and wandering around the garages, getting ready for the first race of the season. The Coronavirus emergency, however, has changed their plans, and the protagonists of the premier class are home and will spend the weekend in front of the TV watching their Moto2 and Moto3 colleagues race in Losail.
They're all obviously not very happy to miss out being on their bikes, starting from the Petronas team riders, who also understand the reasons for this decision.
"It's a shame because, after good winter tests, I couldn't wait to race, but certain things go beyond sports and beyond racing," Franco Morbidelli commented. "We have to be sure that, if we go to an event, it's safe for everyone inside the paddock, so we accepted the decision. It's just a matter of waiting a little longer for the first MotoGP race."
And we'll have to be ready.
"The Moto2 and Moto3 will compete in Qatar, so we'll follow them and cheer on our teammates, hoping that the fans will enjoy these two races. I'm sorry they have to wait a bit longer before the MotoGP starts, but I hope it won't take long. I'll continue my preparation as I did during the winter and concentrate on the first race. When it's time, I'll be ready," Morbidelli assured everyone.
This cancellation also weighs heavily on his teammate, Fabio Quartararo.
"I'm very sad that the Qatar GP has been canceled for the MotoGP. "I just have to focus on my training until the first race of the season ," the French rider said. "However, the Moto2 and Moto3 are racing, our team is there, so I'll cheer for them. It seems that they're doing well, and we all enjoyed good winter tests. Thailand has also been delayed because of the Coronavirus, but personal safety is a priority. Of course, we're really sorry for the fans, and we'll offer them a good show as soon as possible."
Finally, team principal Razlan Razali joins the disappointment of his riders and fans.
"We share the disappointment of all the MotoGP fans because the premier class will not race in Qatar and because the event in Thailand has been postponed, " he commented. "For the Petronas Sprinta Racing team in the Moto2 and Moto3, it's an opportunity to steal the limelight in Qatar because there will be more focus on these classes this weekend. For the Petrosas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team, winter has been extended so that our riders can have more time to train and prepare for the first race of the season. One thing's for sure, when the first race takes place, both Franco and Fabio will be ready and very eager to race! Of course, the primary concern of the team and our sponsors is that everyone who practices this sport and who supports it does not run a risk, so we'll continue to follow the best advice and support FIM, Dorna, and IRTA in their approach to this demanding situation."