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Virus puts brakes on Thailand MotoGP

BANGKOK • The new MotoGP season was yesterday thrown into disarray after its second race, scheduled for Thailand on March 22, had to be postponed indefinitely due to the global coronavirus epidemic.

This followed an earlier announcement that Sunday's season-opener in Qatar had to be cancelled due to the host country's travel restrictions on passengers from Italy, the worst-hit nation in Europe.

Chairman of the Thailand MotoGP organising committee, Anutin Charnvirakul said: "I don't say it's cancelled, I just say it is postponed until time allows us to do (the event). It's because of the coronavirus. Things change every day and it has become pandemic. We have to go along with the circumstances and it is in the best interests of the nation as well as the participants."

MotoGP also confirmed that it was "currently evaluating if an alternative date is possible for the event later this season".

Over the weekend, Thailand saw its first death from the disease, with 43 reported cases as of yesterday, but world motorcycling champion Marc Marquez – who last year won his sixth championship at the Buriram race in October – remains hopeful that the competition can return to the country later this year.

Tweeting a picture of the crowd as he celebrated his title-clinching race, the Repsol Honda rider said: "I hope to see all the Thai fans soon."

As of yesterday, Italy reported over 1,700 Covid-19 cases with 41 deaths, leading the Qatari authorities to impose a two-week quarantine on all passengers on direct flights from Italy.

There are six Italian MotoGP riders, including seven-time world champion ValentinRead More – Source