The return of World Championship racing took a big step towards reality on Thursday morning. At a teleconference, Dorna, the regional government of Andalusia, and the city council of Jerez agreed on conditions to hold two MotoGP races and a WorldSBK round at the Jerez circuit. The conditions would included a vastly reduced paddock, and holding the races behind closed doors, with no fans present. Those conditions have been turned into a proposal and submitted to the Spanish government for consideration.
If approved, the agreement would see MotoGP race at Jerez on consecutive weekends, on the 19th and 26th of July, and WorldSBK race in Jerez a week later, on the weekend of August 2nd. Those rounds would be added to the existing and revised provisional MotoGP and WorldSBK calendars, pending the approval of the FIM. The FIM is expected to nod through those changes.
How firm those calendars are is open to question. At the moment, the two Jerez races - if they happen - would be the first races on the MotoGP calendar, followed by the Brno and Austria rounds, both of which have a chance of going ahead. Czech TV reported yesterday that the organizers are hopeful of being able to hold the race behind closed doors, and the Red Bull Ring is in talks with the Austrian government to allow F1 to kick off its 2020 season at the circuit in July, followed by MotoGP in August.
The WorldSBK season is still scheduled to resume at Donington Park in the UK on the weekend of July 5th. No announcement has been made on that race, but given that the UK is still struggling with the disease where other countries are further along the road to recovery, the chances of it being held look slim.
Though the news of the Jerez MotoGP rounds is positive, it still faces significant obstacles. Dorna have sent the Spanish government a proposal, with no guarantee that the health ministry will approve them. But Dorna has been in extensive talks with the Spanish government on the subject of organizing races for a very long time, and must have indications that the government would look favorably on it.
With tourism a key industry for the Andalusia autonomous region, the regional government is keen to have races there. Despite the fact that no fans will be allowed to attend, the race will once again showcase the area as a destination once tourism returns.
The press release from Dorna appears below:
Agreement to make a proposal to the Spanish government to hold two Grands Prix and a WorldSBK round at Jerez
Thursday, 07 May 2020
The Regional Government of Andalusia, the City Council of Jerez de la Frontera and Dorna Sports have agreed to make a proposal to the Spanish government that, if approved, would see the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto hold two MotoGP™ Grands Prix and one WorldSBK round at the end of July and the start of August.
After an electronic meeting this morning between Juan Antonio Marín, Vice President of the Regional Government of Andalusia; Mamen Sánchez Díaz, Mayor of Jerez de la Frontera; and Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports; the three parties have agreed to make a proposal to the Spanish government to organise two FIM MotoGP™ World Championship Grands Prix at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto on the weekends of the 19th and 26th of July, respectively.
Also proposed is a MOTUL FIM Superbike World Championship round at the venue, to be held on the 2nd of August.
Once authorisation from the Spanish government has been given, the three events will be proposed to the FIM for inclusion on their respective calendars. The first MotoGP™ event would be the Grand Prix of Spain, becoming the season opener for the MotoGP™ class, and the second would be the Grand Prix of Andalusia.