THE eagerly-awaited 2020 MotoGP season was all set to get underway in Qatar.
Riders from all over the world are vying for this year's Championship, hoping to emulate the heroics of Marc Marquez who has won the last four in a row.
But there will be no racing in either Qatar or Thailand for the first two scheduled weeks of competition.
Why has MotoGP Qatar been cancelled?
THE world of sport has been fast to react to the threat of coronavirus.
From football postponements in Italy to the Six Nations clash in Dublin, sporting bodies have moved quickly in a bid to stop the disease spreading.
And MotoGP is no different, with organisers keen to protect riders, teams and spectators.
Six of the sports premier riders are Italian and Qatar has imposed a travel restriction on passengers arriving from Italy.
As a result, organisers took the difficult decision to cancel the season opener – as well as the follow-up in Thailand a week later as the country has similar restrictions currently in place on air travel.
A MotoGp statement read: "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."
It remains to be seen when the 2020 season will start, with the third race scheduled at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas on April 5.
Why is Moto2 going ahead?
EVERY race in the premier class of MotoGP has been cancelled this weekend in Qatar.
But Moto2 racing WILL go ahead – and has taken the prime-time TV night slot on Sunday, March 8.
The teams and riders for both Moto2 and Moto3 were in Qatar before the restrictions were put in place, unlike the majority of the MotoGP staff and riders who were due to fly in later this week.
As such, racing can go ahead for these classes as they're already in the country.
A MotoGP statement explained: "As the teams and riders of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes were already in Qatar for the three-day official test at Losail International Circuit earlier this week, the races of both categories will be possible.
"The lightweight and intermediate classes will therefore compete in their season opener from March 6-8."
However, racing for ALL classes has been postponed in Thailand on March 22.
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