Dorna Sports, organizer of MotoGP and WSBK series has committed to keep racing in 2020, despite the current coronavirus pandemic? How exactly do they plan to do that? With closed-door races.
Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta told Spanish sports site, AS.com, that the company is exploring closed-door races as an alternative.
Closed-door races mean that only the teams, organizers, medical personnel, and coverage crew will be allowed at the races. There will be no spectators, sponsors, or even VIPs. This may drastically reduce the number of people at any given race, reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
As an added precaution, Dorna is planning to secure COVID-19 test kits for those present to be tested regularly. This is hoped to quickly identify anyone who is positive and quickly isolate any who are.
The organizer has already sent emails to teams asking how many members they would need to run a skeleton crew at a race event.
“We are preparing a protocol together with the relevant authorities, for example the Sports Council in Spain and Italian Olympic Committee, in addition to different laboratories… with which to control the entire grand prix paddock,” Ezpeleta told AS.com.
"We have already commissioned through a company that is owned by Bridgepoint [which owns Dorna] the possibility of having 10,000 coronavirus tests, to test the entire MotoGP family before and after each day.”
"In the scenario that we now contemplate, there would be closed-door races with the least possible personnel at the circuits for everyone, teams and organisation."
The organizer estimates that this measure could reduce team sizes to just 25 to 40 people, totaling to just 1,000 people at each event (including MotoGP, Moto2, Moto3 and maybe even MotoE).
Dorna is committed to its promise of holding as many races as safely possible in 2020. They’re likely facing a lot of pressure from sponsors and teams that have already invested in a 2020 season.
While closed-door races may seem feasible, each race will still require a large number of people gathered in one venue, putting any of those present at risk of contracting the virus. There’s also the other matter of whether race tracks and countries will be amenable to this idea.