Qatar MotoGP race cancelled because of COVID-19 outbreak
Doha (Qatar): Organizers have cancelled next weekend's season-opening MotoGP race in Qatar because of "travel restrictions brought into force affecting passengers from Italy" due to the COVID-19 (coronavirus) outbreak.
The race was scheduled to take place on March 8, at the Losail International Circuit on the outskirts of Doha.
"FIM, IRTA and Dorna regret to announce the cancellation of all MotoGP class sessions at the Grand Prix of Qatar, including the race," organizers said in a statement Sunday.
"The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has resulted in Qatar travel restrictions being brought into force that affect passengers from Italy, amongst other countries."
There have been 34 deaths from the COVID-19 illness in Italy and more than 1,100 people have tested positive.
All passengers arriving at Doha on direct flights from Italy, or having been in Italy in the past two weeks, will be quarantined for a minimum of 14 days.
"Italy clearly plays a vital role in the Championship and in the MotoGP class — both on track and off — and therefore the decision has been taken to cancel premier class competition," continued the statement.
Italian Andrea Dovizioso won last year's Qatar GP.
The Moto2 and Moto3 classes will take place as the teams and riders were already in Qatar for the three-day official test at the track earlier this week.