Portugal bans spectators at 100,000-seat circuit for final MotoGP race

MotoGP fans will not be allowed inside the 100,000-seat Autodromo Internacional do Algarve for the final MotoGP race this year.

This is after Portuguese Prime Minister, Antonio Costa, has slammed the disregard for some COVID-19 prevention protocols during the recent Formula 1 GP also held at the same venue.

“What happened at the [F1] Grand Prix is unacceptable and cannot be repeated,” said Acosta to Reuters.

As such, Portuguese authorities have become intent on enforcing the protocols, opting instead to ban fans and spectators at the grand finale of this year’s MotoGP season.

“We have already told the organizers that the MotoGP race will be held without an audience because our inability to organize events of this scale with spectators has been revealed,” added Acosta.

Coronavirus and MotoGP

It’s been really tough for organizers of such large-scale events to operate this year due to the pandemic. Spectators, ticket and seat sales, and various booths and promos at the venue account for a large chunk of a race weekend's revenue.

Fortunately, technology has been instrumental in broadcasting the races out to the world and making sure that teams will continue to race for this year, despite the delayed start of the season.

Nonetheless, it will be difficult to recoup the massive cost of renting the track, abiding by the new safety protocols, and keeping sponsors and partners happy without the spectator component.

“Everything is possible,” said Dorna CEO, Carmelo Ezpeleta. “The most important thing for us is to have any solution all together with everything. We say always that Dorna, in agreement with IRTA and FIM, is a company that makes races and this is our obligation despite any other things… I assure you, with the collaboration with IRTA, the MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 team managers, we will try to do as many races as we can.”