'Prejudice the season': MotoGP paddock under fire for virus scare

Riley Morgan
·Sports Reporter
·2-min read
MotoGP riders in a race.
The International Race Teams' Association has called for the MotoGP paddock to abide by the strict virus protocols with just three rounds remaining. (Getty Images)

The International Race Teams’ Association (IRTA) has issued an open letter to the paddock of the MotoGP and called for diligence after a number of riders have missed races due to the coronavirus pandemic.

MotoGP has been running strict regulation this season during the coronavirus pandemic, which has included a smaller paddock, regular testing and a bubble to stop interaction within the paddock.

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Part of the new schedule is for back-to-back events at the same circuit, which includes a bubble.

Riders are expected to stay within the hotel bubble and only leave for ‘important business reasons’.

But reports suggest a number of riders travelled outside the bubble after the Aragon race.

Valentino Rossi, a nine-times MotoGP world champion, tested positive for COVID-19 and was forced to miss last weekend’s Aragon Grand Prix after travelling home to Italy from Le Mans.

Moto3 rider Tony Arbolino was forced to quarantine after sitting close to someone on the plane, who had tested positive for coronavirus, on his way to Italy.

While, Moto3 rider Riccardo Rossi and Moto2 rider Jorge Martin missed seperate races due to the coronavirus.

IRTA sends letter to MotoGP paddock

This prompted the IRTA to send a letter to the riders and paddock personnel with just three rounds to go.

“With the testing procedures and the precautions that you are taking within the paddock, such as social distancing, the wearing of masks and confining activities to team and company bubbles, the MotoGP paddock probably poses a minimal risk of COVID-19 infection compared with the risk in the outside community,” a part of the letter read.

“The biggest risk comes from individuals contracting the disease at their homes or during travel.”

The letter asked riders to be diligent with a few races to go with cameras picking up riders and personnel interacting without masks or safety measures.

“It has been noticed that some people have started to relax compliance with the safety measures required in the paddock and pit boxes,” the letter read.

“Images have appeared on TV and social media of staff celebrating with riders whilst not wearing face masks.

“If we want to be permitted to continue running events we have to demonstrate to the outside world that we are respecting the conditions that were agreed as a condition of obtaining permission.

“Please do not prejudice the completion of the season!”

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