MotoGP facing July start date, believes Ducati boss Ciabatti

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Ducati MotoGP sporting director Paolo Ciabatti believes the series will not be able to start before July as Europe braces itself for the thick of the coronavirus pandemic.

Ciabatti, whose home country of Italy has been paralysed by the disease, has been paying close attention to its behaviour both domestically and in Italy, and thinks late June or early July is when we can expect some track action.

“I follow all the statistics closely: I think we will soon see the numbers we have seen in Italy in the rest of the continent, which is taking advantage of our experience and implementing drastic decisions,” said Ciabatti.

“Studying the numbers, I’m afraid it’s impossible to think that the world championship will start before June or July.

In China, very strict measures have been taken, in an authoritarian way: it has locked down everything and that’s it, without exceptions. They’re coming out of it now, after two months. With our democratic system it will take even longer.

“At the moment, the championship has a three-week break in July: conditions permitting, a couple of GPs could be held during that time. The championship will be more compact, it will be possible to race also in December in some circuits.

“I think there is a possibility to hold 17 or 18 GPs, as was the case until a few years ago [when the calendar was expanded], trying to keep the commitments with the TV, the sponsors. But this in theory. Nobody can say when the situation will return to normal.”