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MotoGP vs Covid-19: riders, teams and sponsors unite in the fight

From Valentino Rossi to Marc Marquez, the MotoGP paddock pull together to try and do its part to fight Covid-19

MotoGP: MotoGP vs Covid-19: riders, teams and sponsors unite in the fight

The global coronavirus crisis has created a global reaction, including from the MotoGP paddock and all those who make our sport what it is. That includes riders, teams, sponsors, partners and everyone in between as we all pull together to try and do our part to fight Covid-19.

The official charity of MotoGP, Two Wheels for Life, recently launched a campaign alongside Dorna Sports to raise funds for their work to combat Covid-19, with the world first Red Bull Virtual Grand Prix of Spain in aid of the cause. Funds raised will go towards the delivery of test results, education and equipment to hard to reach communities across a number of countries in sub-Saharan Africa in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other deadly contagious diseases – all in the name of MotoGP.

A number of MotoGP riders have made key contributions, including reigning MotoGP World Champion Marc Marquez and teammate Alex Marquez, as the two Repsol Honda Team riders doted equipment to the Hospital Universitari Arnau de Vilanova in their local city of Lleida, Catalonia.

Valentino Rossi’s (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) VR46 Srl has come together with a number of other businesses in their area to raise and donate funds to acquire new respirators for l’Azienda Ospedaliera Marche Nord, and the number 46 himself has also carried out a number of morale boosting actions – including surprising a 102-year-old fan of his who beat the virus by getting in touch via video call, and recording a number of different video messages for those affected. Maverick Viñales (Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP) has also been an active presence in and around his hometown. The Yamaha rider purchased a significant number of Covid-19 test kits to allow care home Residencia Europalau to test all staff and residents for the virus on a regular basis, and has donated masks and protective screens to University Hospital de Girona Doctor Josep Trueta and Hospital de Santa Caterina, both in Girona.

Francesco Bagnaia’s (Pramac Racing Team) Fan Club have also been fundraising for the battle against the virus, with nearly €14,000 donated to the Agenzia Ospedaliera Città della Salute di Torino in Turin. Intact GP MotoE rider and Grand Prix winner Dominique Aegerter, meanwhile, made some headlines when he was locked down in Barcelona, giving a helping hand to a local care home by disinfecting the building.

Ducati Motor Holding, to which the Ducati Team belong, is organising a fundraising appeal on behalf of Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria di Bologna Policlinico di S.Orsola. The #raceagainstCOVID campaign is aiming to raise the funds to finance equipment, research and staff at the Policlinico di S. Orsola in Bologna, which is dedicated exclusively to the care of patients in convalescence post Covid-19. The target is €500,000, with the first donations coming from board members, followed by Ducati employees – and the sum total of the two then doubled by the company to create the foundation of the fundraising drive. It has now been rolled out to Ducatisti worldwide, with MotoGP riders Andrea Dovizioso and Danilo Petrucci just two of the paddock personnel lending their support to the initiative.

The parent company of FIM Enel MotoE World Cup bike manufacturer Energica – CRP Technology – is ensuring that some of the same expertise that has made the Energica Ego Corsa such an incredible success is now committed to fighting coronavirus. In house, the company are manufacturing several functional prototypes of emergency valves for reanimation devices, as well as link components for emergency respiratory masks for assisted ventilation, using additive manufacturing and their own patented Windform P1 isotropic material. The valves are currently being tested in a hospital in Lombardy, Italy.

LCR Honda have one of their RC213Vs included in an art exhibition created to support hospitals in Brescia called BrixiaPROart. The BrixiaPROart initiative was created by a group of professional photographers who decided to put their own art for sale online, in order to help raise funds for equipment, machinery and medicines necessary in the fight against Covid-19. Pramac, owner of Pramac Racing Team, also provided a standby diesel GSW705V generator to Wuhan hospital to provide standby power.

Repsol has donated 400,000 masks to the Spanish healthcare system, as well as polypropylene produced at their plant in Huesca to the Spanish Foundation for Research and Development in Transportation and Energy (CIDAUT) in Valladolid, enabling the manufacture up to 5,700 visors a day for face shields. In addition, Repsol have re-adapted their laboratories at the Repsol Technology Lab to produce hand sanitiser, and loaned the Hospital de La Paz in Madrid a PCR machine capable of carrying out 500 Covid-19 tests per day.

Petronas, the official fuel supplier to the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, as well as title sponsor and technical partner of Petronas Yamaha SRT in MotoGP™ and Petronas Sprinta Racing in the Moto2 and Moto3 classes, has a number of initiatives. The Malaysian company is working towards developing a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) prototype, which helps lessen the dependency of Covid-19 patients on ventilators in Malaysia. The machines were originally developed by another Petronas partner in motorsport: Mercedes AMG F1 at Mercedes-AMG High Performance Powertrains (HPP), in collaboration with University College London. Petronas have also contributed RM20 million (around €4.3 million) towards vital medical equipment and supplies, and have launched the #WeWishYouWell campaign on social media to show solidarity with and support for those battling the virus, as well as spread that message.

Moto2 and Moto3 lubricant supplier and Liqui Moly Intact GP team sponsor Liqui Moly made an initial donation of €1 million of free products to emergency services, hospitals and fire brigades across Germany, including engine oils for ambulance vehicles as well as additives to maintain emergency power generators which are needed to operate medical equipment in case of emergency. Since that first donation, the company has now added another €2 million worth of products.

The Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello was another quick to respond, delivering equipment from their Medical Center to the Tuscan health authorities, including two ventilators, two intensive care monitors, four defibrillator monitors and more.

MotoGP communications supplier Tata Communications’ parent holding company Tata Sons have pledged INR 1,000 crore (over €122 million), and Tata Trusts have donated INR 500 crore (over €60 million) to go towards medical equipment, set up treatment facilities and health worker training.

MotoGP class and MotoE Official Tyre Supplier Michelin is a key contributor to the fight against the pandemic, focusing on a number of vital pieces of protective equipment and medical device components including the development and manufacture of several types of mask, as well as outsourcing the production of 10,000 sterilisable polycarbonate protective visors for French hospitals. The company has also joined others from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region in manufacturing a new, reusable face mask, with the aim of producing more than five million masks by the end of June. Michelin is also offering free services from local distribution networks and free tyres to health-care professionals and logistics companies, with a number of countries having already benefitted from that initiative including China, Germany, Italy and a number of Gulf countries.

The BMW Group to which BMW M, provider of the official car of MotoGP, belong, have used cross-divisional planning to enable a number of initiatives. The group donated 100,000 masks in the early stages of the crisis, followed up in early April as they presented the government of Bavaria with one million pairs of disposable gloves and 50,000 FFP2 respiratory masks. A further one million masks will be added soon and the BMW Group have procured the systems to produce its own, beginning in a few weeks. The company is also providing vehicles to social and healthcare facilities, and at its German and international locations is helping social and public institutions with donations of goods and materials such as disinfectants.

MotoGP sustainable power partner and FIM Enel MotoE World Cup partner Enel has donated €23 million in Italy, through its non-profit organisation Enel Cuore, for a series of measures to support key organizations involved in providing health and social assistance services. Via the Lenovo Foundation, Lenovo, MotoGP™ technical partner and exclusive technology sponsor of the MotoGP™ eSport Championship, has donated technology to new hospitals treating patients, as well as researchers studying the virus, and made software and hardware available to schools to operate online. In addition, the Foundation has so far donated $6.7 million towards fighting coronavirus.

Allianz, the official insurance partner of the FIM Enel MotoE World Cup, have been globally active. Allianz Partners, in collaboration with Allianz Germany, has entered into a collaboration with Get.On Institute to offer digital, accessible-to-all mental health services in Germany. Allianz Spain has also become the main sponsor of the OxyGEN project by Protofy. OxyGEN is a device that automates the process of manual ventilation and is open hardware project, meaning Protofy makes the schematics available for free download to anyone who wishes to build them. In addition, Allianz Spain has contributed €2.8 million to a special €37 million life insurance fund created by insurers in Spain for healthcare workers.

In Italy, Allianz has partnered with the Sapio Group to support the establishment of an intensive care hospital in the facilities of the Fiera di Milano and the Italian arm of Allianz Partners has donated €55,000 to the project. Allianz Italy is also supporting two Milanese initiatives to assist the underprivileged in the city, as well as a related project in Trieste to help local families in need. Allianz France, in partnership with UNIM, has donated €1 million to the Institut Pasteur and the Coronavirus Task Force for Covid-19 research, and for supporting initiatives from startups to improve the daily lives of medical workers. Allianz Slovakia has allocated around €85,000 for the purchase of medical devices for hospitals, the first of which was a ventilation device donated to the University Hospital in Bratislava.

Allianz Africa has earmarked €100,000 to support the Covid-19 efforts in the African countries where it operates, aimed at buying testing kits and medical supplies, which will be delivered directly to hospitals and health institutions, and in Thailand, Allianz Ayudhya has donated 1 million Thai baht (over €28,000) to source 1,000 personal protective equipment (PPE) and 4,000 N95 masks for hospitals in the country. Close by, Allianz Indonesia is collaborating with Halodoc Indonesia to provide drive-through Covid-19 rapid tests in Jakarta.

MotoGP’s hand tool supplier Stanley’s parent company Stanley Black & Decker has committed US$10 million in financial support to benefit communities and employees, including the purchase of three million face masks, an employee relief fund and a donation matching scheme. The official beer of MotoGP, Singha, is owned by Boon Rawd Brewery Company Limited. They have donated 50 million baht (nearly €1.5 million) to the fight against Covid-19 in Thailand.

Official MotoGP and FIM Enel MotoE World Cup logistics partner DHL are also making an important contribution as they send emergency medical equipment and supplies to healthcare workers, deliver necessary goods and use their logistical expertise to find solutions to enable companies to continue operating in these exceptional circumstances. Their UK staff have also been vibrant contributors to the #ClapForTheNHS campaign across the country. R&D and manufacturing teams at Oakley, official eyewear supplier to MotoGP™, have been working with their local medical community to develop protective shields for mass production and have donated 20,000 units of protective eyewear to be shipped across North America and Europe.

MotoGP and MotoE prosecco supplier Prosecco DOC normally take centre stage on the podium, but they’ve also take on a key role in their home nation of Italy during the Covid-19 crisis. In aid of the Veneto region, one of those most affected by the outbreak, the consortium has made available funds to purchase an intensive care unit, and has requested a contribution from members to be allocated to the immediate purchase of equipment necessary in the fight against the virus.

MotoGP Sustainable Truck Supplier Scania, meanwhile, are involved in the battle against coronavirus in Sweden. Experts from their purchasing and logistics organisation are working with Karolinska University Hospital and Region Stockholm to acquire protective equipment for healthcare workers, and trailers from Scania are being converted to mobile testing stations. Dell’Orto, the exclusive ECU supplier to the Moto3™ class, joined a campaign to raise money for the intensive care unit at Monza hospital. MotoGP™ rental car supplier Hertz has provided free vehicle rentals to New York City healthcare workers from March the 25th to April 30th.

Doctors from the FIM are taking on a vital role during the pandemic, with more than twenty of them fighting on the frontline in their respective nations. MotoGP Medical Services supplier Quironsalud are also on the front line fighting the outbreak in Spain, and staff from the Clinica Mobile, including head of the service Michele Zasa, are likewise on the ground in Italy to lend their expertise.

We would like to extend our thanks to the entire MotoGP and motorcycle racing community for all their efforts. To find out more about how you can help support the campaign from MotoGP official charity Two Wheels for Life, click here.

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