"Our idea right now is to start at the end of July,” declared Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO, in a video published on the official MotoGP channels. The video came in the afternoon of the day that three 2020 races - Sachsenring in Germany, the Assen TT and the one that should have been run on the new KymiRing circuit in Finland - were all cancelled.
“We have decided with the three local promoters to pass onto next year with those three, instead of putting them on a new date. We’re sure our initial program is to start in Europe and race from the end of July until November and see what’s happening, and if the non-European races will be possible after November. If it’s not possible to travel outside of Europe, we’ll at least keep a Championship of least 10 to 12 races.”
An important fact will be to ensure an accurate screening of the entire MotoGP paddock, how do you intend to do it?
"We are working on the 10,000 coronavirus tests. Then what we are doing is to try to make a protocol, to see how the races could be without spectators and with a limited number of people working in the paddock, Then everyone will be tested before leaving their house, then tested when they arrive at the circuit and also when they return home. This is the idea.”
Formula 1 is thinking of running multiple races on the same circuit and Liberty Media has also confirmed a zone-based calendar. Could having multiple GPs on the same track be a viable path for MotoGP too?
"We are considering that. To do maybe - not during the same race weekend - doing two consecutive race weekends at the same circuit."
How are conversations going with the riders, teams and manufacturers?
"We have regular contact. Two weeks ago, we had a meeting with all the manufacturers together and we decided the technical situation for 2020 and 2021 for the three categories. Then I’m speaking regularly with everyone about our plans for the near future. We are doing that. Some of the riders call me and I’m happy to discuss the situation with them.”
On how people are going to move around, however, do you have any news on air travel?
"The first program we are thinking of the possibility to move by car if necessary, but I think that by July, with many safety measures, it will be possible to fly within Europe."
One thing that is certain is that in all likelihood it will not be possible for fans to watch the events live. Will that be a problem that will affect the championship?
"Our main thing is to maintain our fantastic numbers regarding the interest in MotoGP around the world. Unfortunately, this year it seems it will not change during the season. It will be difficult to have spectators at the races, but we will have our fantastic television coverage which will permit the majority of people to watch the races.”
How many staff will be present in the paddock? How will you implement the reduction in personnel?
"We talked to the teams and arrived at a consensus that maximum number for a MotoGP manufacturer team will be 40, for satellite or independent teams will be 25, 20 for Moto2 and 15 for Moto3. Then there will be, of course, all the people who produce the television signal; all this crew, then the minimum number of people from Dorna who are in charge of race organisation. This will give us an average of around 1600 people. This is the possibility to control the MotoGP family. Unfortunately, at the moment there will be no media and no TV. Maybe, but not sure, maybe some photographers to supply images to everybody."
What’s the situation with WorldSBK?
"With Superbike we are in the same situation. We are working. The idea is that because many of the circuits we will plan to be at for MotoGP also do Superbike races, then we will be maybe able to have a Superbike race the weekend immediately after a MotoGP race. This is something we are studying together with the Superbike people to work out the best calendar but it’s also a priority for us to have Superbike races."