MotoGP: Coronavirus is now a thing

© Bruce Allen   March 2, 2020

Here we are, on the cusp of MotoGP 2020, and along comes your basic global pandemic just in time to disrupt the racing season. First, it was the premier class race weekend in Qatar cancelled, as all incoming travelers from Italy were to be put in mandatory 14-day quarantine, thereby defeating the purpose of returning to Doha. The lightweight and intermediate class bikes were already at Losail testing, and are staying and racing this weekend. The “crowd,” at these things is usually thin anyway; this year should be eerily sparse.


Now we hear, just today, that Round 2 in Thailand is cancelled completely, but hopes to be re-scheduled later in the year. And it’s kind of silly to think that the xenophobic United States would allow a big ol’ group of ferners to invade–INVADE!!–Austin in April for COTA. By then, the U.S. should be in full bloom, virus-wise, with National Guard units stationed at all southern border crossings and ports-of-entry to block the entry of airborne pathogens into U.S. airspace. As if. Strong borders are healthy borders. Uh-huh.

Argentina, as of today, has no reported cases of the virus, making it one of the later countries in line to experience the essentially inevitable spread of the illness. Will it be there by mid-April? Given the state of the art in early March, one would argue yes. We could easily see Round 4 go up in smoke. Looking at the calendar, it is easy to envision, if one is in the right mood, the entire season being cancelled, one race at a time, the domino theory in full swing, until mid-season, when sponsors, etc., are going to want to pull the plug and cut their losses. It could happen.

What little I know about pathogens against which humans show little or no resistance is that they tend to multiply logarithmic-ally, the curve starting horizontal and quickly arcing to an almost vertical slope. Not everyone who is exposed to this one gets sick, and most of those who get sick recover; a mortality rate of around 2%. Which sounds small, until one considers the possibility that 2%, when applied to the billions of planetary inhabitants, comes out to a big number.

It seems clear that pretty much everyone everywhere is going to become exposed at some point in the not-too-distant future. Despite this fact, gatherings such as MotoGP race weekends are frowned upon, due to the proximity and numbers of fans, which would be less-than-usual anyway, for the same reason. All of which must have Dorna, the manufacturers, and the sponsors plucking their eyelashes out, one at a time, under such stress. When it’s deus ex machina at work, it’s time to call the insurance companies, who will cite “hand of God” in rejecting their claims. Call the lawyers.

Clearly, this is going to have a major effect upon the MotoGP season. The most important, from here, is that it gives Marc Marquez time to heal, and gives Honda time to figure out WTF is wrong with the 2020 bike. Everyone else, other than Andrea Iannone, looked ready to rumble.

A 16- or 17-race season, beginning in May at Jerez, might be the best thing to hope for. To hope that the virus, like the flu virus, gets worse when the weather is cold and kind of goes away when things warm up. But then there are those cases in Qatar already…

Therefore: The fate of the entire racing season depends upon whether the coronavirus becomes less, um, aggressive in warm weather. What little data I’ve seen suggest this is likely, in which case life in the paddock will go on in an abridged season. In the unlikely event it does not, we could be talking about the 2021 season before June.





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10 Responses to “MotoGP: Coronavirus is now a thing”

  1. Starmag Says:

    “the xenophobic United States” Not. The US is among the least racist countries in the world. Facts please. Asians are the most racist.

    Always AOK to depict Americans as dumb though, despite the fact that the US is among the highest IQ countries in the world.

    With the open borders you suggest, every poor person in the world will want to come here, not “doctors and lawyers”, they already come LEGALLY. How will that be payed for? Huge tax increases? Even more money printing? Interest rates cannot go much lower and we are close to not being able to pay just the interest on the national debt. I work for a living, what have these people done to earn it? No borders, no country. Why don’t you want the US to exist? I think it’s a great idea, even though we don’t really follow the constitution anymore. Witness the unconstitutional Fed for just one example.

    Thailand being cancelled makes it more likely that COTA will race which is good for me since I’ve already payed for everything to go.


    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Wait. I’m not a keep them out person. I’m a melting pot person. I always write xenophobic when I mean jingoistic. The spasm likely to effect COTA will be a blip on the screen.


    • Old MOron Says:

      Well, Brucey has clarified that he meant jingoism, not xenophobia. Just the same, how come “smart” American’s don’t seem to know the difference between xenophobia and racism?


  2. Michael H Coleman Says:

    Hello Bruce, I guess it had to happen, I just hope this all gets sorted out fast


  3. Old MOron Says:

    Well, the less they race, the more what-if’s and nun-uh’s we get to bandy about.


  4. Anonymous Says:

    Can we please leave off the Politics 101 lectures?
    I’m also paid up for Austin- maybe unfortunately, we’ll see!


    • Michael H Coleman Says:

      G’Day Folks.
      My thoughts as well. Lets leave the politics to the political pages. We are here for the racing.
      Ontario, Canada.


  5. Buzz W Says:

    Flights already booked for Austin. I’m coming straight from a business trip in Hawaii so buy me a beer or I’ll cough on all of you.


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