MotoGP: Catalunya Off, Season in Peril

© Bruce Allen

The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya announced today that the MotoGP race scheduled for the weekend of June 7 will be postponed. This, then, pretty much seals it for Mugello, which is scheduled for May 31st, in the heart of coronaland in northern Italy, which is absurd. Which then leaves, as things now stand, a season-opener in the friendly confines of The Sachsenring in eastern Germany on June 21st.

As if.

Screenshot (295)

At first one thinks, “Well, they’ll jump someone into the 5/31 and 6/7 slots, take a week off and then proceed to Germany and Assen for a Round 4.” But here’s the problem with that thinking. That’s Old Thinking, when big crowds in confined spaces were to be desired. To think that some venue somewhere, anywhere, today, is going to invite a MotoGP weekend while the virus rages at numerous places in the world–that they would jump the line for the privilege of doing so–is Old Thinking.

New Thinking recognizes that the 2020 season is not going to happen. If, by October or November, the Powers That Be stage a few “friendlies,” testing sessions with prizes awarded, with a handful of locations and fans chosen by lottery or antibodies, that would likely be it. No records would be kept of the competition. The results from Qatar in March for Moto2 and Moto3 would be entered in the record books but would not be recognized as actual 2020 championships. They would be race results and nothing more.

Personally, I don’t believe any of this is going to happen. No country with sane leadership would allow such a thing to happen. Poor Finland, who tried so hard to have their shiny new track ready for a race weekend in July, is going to have to keep the track afloat for a year or so while the long-term nature of these viruses is discerned.

Screenshot (123)My worry is, as one of the doctors discussing the issue said recently, that coronavirus becomes, until an effective vaccine is developed, tested, and given to seven billion people, a seasonal virus, like the flu, but that kills a lot more people. It would mean that ‘social distancing’ would become somewhat built-in to American/global living, waiting for development and distribution of an elusive vaccine. Which might or might not be effective against your particular strain of the virus, of which there are many.

Ergo, it appears that the 2020 MotoGP season is toast. This raises a number of questions for riders. It was looking like Fabio Quartararo and Valentino Rossi would trade Yamahas in 2021, with the Frenchman moving up and the legend moving down. We here thought that was a ridiculous idea, even if Vale had been able to complete his victory lap on the factory bike in 2020, blowing kisses to the fans amidst clouds of day-glo yellow smoke. Without the victory lap, it sounds like Rossi still wants a final season on the factory bike.

What kind of problems, one wonders, does that cause for young Fabio, who seems determined to be The Next Great Rider. Beyond the Yamaha guys, there are questions about the status of premier class contracts across the board, excluding Marquez, since all but one were, in 2020, the second year of two-year deals, with a bevy of theoretical riders hitting the market for the 21-22 seasons. Marquez has signed with Repsol Honda/ HRC until forever. Which means he got to spend this year working on his shoulder and his tan, playing video games, and making €16 or 20 million along the way.

It’s good to be the king

If coronavirus does, in fact, become a seasonal thing, coming back year after year, live Catalunya2 sporting events would appear to be something of the past. The notion of a world without sports, without concerts, without festivals, even conventions–you get the picture–is unsettling, to say the least. MotoGP would likely become just another relic of the good old days, of Sundays at legendary places like Mugello, with 100,000 drunk Italians yelling for Rossi, riders making moves in the slipstream, the noise incredible, the tension almost physical.

If this is it, this was good stuff.

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15 Responses to “MotoGP: Catalunya Off, Season in Peril”

  1. Starmag Says:

    I agree, I don’t know how they can make it work this year.

    I thought the video game Motogp with the riders was kind of fun. Amazingly realistic. They need to go to full screen at least half the time or more though. Showing the riders all the time makes the inset racing screen too small. Too hard to see the rider standings on the usual left side of the screen. The announcer was kind of dorky by talking and interviewing like it was real. Maybe this is what the rest of the season will be. Can you imagine the monetary loses? Yikes.

    Antman haters should love it because he’s not that good at it. Given his determination and focus in real racing he’s probably practicing up his controller skills though. He was visibly not happy about placing 5th. Fab, Mav, and Alex are the best right now. Making millions to play a video game from home seems like a good gig right now but I’m sure they would rather be riding.

    I’m looking forward to the next one which is supposed to be this weekend, I forget which virtual track. Maybe you should cover that for MO with your usual great sense of humor. Everybody needs a laugh right now.

    When life gives you lemons…..

    Like

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      I haven’t watched any of the virtual races but I will, maybe pitch Evans on doing some e-work. Hope all is well.

      Like

      • Starmag Says:

        I’m great Bruce, hope you are as well. Well, to be honest, my Coronaliver is taking a beating.

        Anyway, here’s some ammo for you to use in negotiations with Evans:

        https://www.motogp.com/en/news/2020/04/03/motogp-virtual-race-a-record-breaking-esport-global-event/328861

        Like

      • Starmag Says:

        It’s a shame that apparently Evans didn’t go for virtual race reports. It would have been tough to write something like that, but I’m sure you could have handled it with some good humor.

        I hope the family issues that would have prevented you from going to Austin have turned out OK. It would have been a pleasure to meet you.

        We miss you at MO.

        Like

        • Bruce Allen Says:

          Hey Kurt—Evans met with his masters on Friday to see if there’s any freelance budget at all. If not, please follow me at motogpfordummies.com. I was looking forward to meeting the whole crew. My wife’s health issues are still with us and will be for the duration.
          The Jewish toast, “Next year in Jerusalem” can easily be transposed for MOrons. Think Austin in 2021 or 2022.

          Bruce

          Like

  2. Old MOron Says:

    What I’ll really miss is the umbrella girls.

    Like

    • Starmag Says:

      No doubt.

      For a lark, I searched for the Motogp 20 game umbrella girls. This is all I could find. Kinda disappointing:

      Like

  3. Buzz W Says:

    So glad I did the Italian adventure last year at Misano. Germany looks like they’ll start opening up a bit like Austria. They still won’t allow large crowds I would imagine and without ticket sales and vendor income, there would be no profit in staging the event.

    Like

  4. Buzz Says:

    It looks as if the German GP has been disappeared from the schedule. It’s not even listed as TBD

    Like

  5. Old MOron Says:

    Hey Bruce! What do you think of Killer Miller’s promotion to the factory squad for next year? Which of the current factory pilots is out? Could it be both of them?

    Like

    • Bruce Allen Says:

      Missed you, dude. I’ve never been as big a fan of Miller as a lot of folks have. I put the over/under on his podium appearances this year at 4. I’m afraid Petrux is getting the horn once again, will end up taking his bulky frame over to Aprilia–s’long, Andrea–where he will again be a second-tier rider, on his way to WSBK. I think Dovi stays, that he will assume the mentor role. Dovi will start out as the #1 rider on the team but will likely be #2 by this time next year. More interested in seeing what Rossi can do at SRT. Hope you are well, virus-free. Evans tells me his budget has been cut to zero, meaning the blog will be the only place for me to post my rants. Tell your friends.

      Peace, brother.

      Like

      • Starmag Says:

        It has to suck to be Dovi right now. He hasn’t been able to beat MM for three years for the title, but MM is likely to go down in history as the GOAT. NO ONE can do the things he does and everybody knows it. So Dovi finishes 2nd in the championship to the future GOAT 3 years running with a big gap to Mav in 3rd last year, and there’s still some question as to who should get the axe to make room for Jackass, while Petrux stunk up the field the most of 2019. Talk about no respect for Dovi. Wow.

        Sad news from Evans. Coronamadness has probably put a few crimps in some advertising budgets. You are definitely worth paying, but I though you told us last year you were doing it more or less for free, not that I think you should. MO is higher profile and has Disqus which is a bit superior though.

        Like

        • Bruce Allen Says:

          Dear Mr. Starmag–

          I tried to install Disqus on the blog but it’s not available. When I said I was working for free I was exaggerating somewhat. Half of what he used to pay me. As for Dovi, he joins the list of riders who had the misfortune to be in their prime when some of the GOATs were around; Dani Pedrosa is another recent example. Your expertise probably goes back farther than mine, so you can probably cite others. Petrux, like Scott Redding, isn’t built for speed, so to speak. He would probably do well in AMA if he were willing to work for peanuts. It’s all about winning until it’s time to get paid.

          Hope you and yours are safe and well. Keep the shiny side up. There will probably be a few races yet this year, and I plan to cover them all. I was only going to work half-time going into the season, but it’s only going to be half a season. There you have it.

          RBA

          Like

      • Old MOron Says:

        Yes, it will be very interesting to see what happens with Valentino. He was supposed to use the first half of this season to decide what to do next season. Looks like he’s going to have to make a blind leap into 2021.

        Miller had guts, going from Moto3 straight to MotoGP. So far it hasn’t worked out. But this could be his chance. I feel bad for Petrux. At least he got that win in Mugello. That has to be his best memory.

        I’m also interested to see what young Fabio will do. Maybe he can beat Marquez.

        Like

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