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MotoGP postpones third straight race because of coronavirus outbreak

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MotoGP announced Wednesday that its 2020 season opener and finale have been pushed back again by the coronavirus outbreak.

The Argentina Grand Prix, which had been scheduled to open the season April 17-19, became the fourth event to be canceled or postponed at the outset of this season.

The race has been rescheduled to Nov. 20-22, which will move the season finale at Valencia, Spain, to Nov. 27-29.

The Red Bull Grand Prix of the Americas in Austin, Texas, will remain in its rescheduled date Nov. 13-15 after its April 3-5 race weekend was postponed Tuesday.

The premier class of the MotoGP now will open its 2020 season with the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuito de Jerez-Angel Nieto on May 1-3.

The race at Circuit of the Americas was the third MotoGP event to be affected this season. The premier class canceled its season opener at Qatar March 8 because of coronavirus-related travel restrictions. The season’s second race in Thailand also has been postponed indefinitely from its March 22 date.

MotoGP testing at the end of 2020 in Valencia will be scheduled after the season begins.

Andretti Autosport picks James Hinchcliffe for last 3 races of season

Andretti Autosport James Hinchcliffe
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James Hinchcliffe will finish the NTT IndyCar Series season for Andretti Autosport, replacing Zach Veach in the No. 26 Dallara-Honda.

The team made the announcement Friday afternoon that Hinchcliffe will return after racing for Andretti at Texas Motor Speedway, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Indianapolis 500.

Hinchcliffe, who also has worked as an IndyCar on NBC analyst and pit reporter, will race in the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida.

“It’s always unfortunate to have to change drivers this far into a season, but we have to look at finishing the year the best we can for the 26 team and start evaluating and looking at options for 2021,” team owner Michael Andretti said in a release. “James has an existing relationship with our team that we’d love to build on and it makes the most sense for him to step in for these last three races. We are looking forward to seeing what he can do.”

Hinchcliffe has a season-best finish of seventh in the Indy 500. He had been working on trying to put together a deal for next season after scrambling to secure a partial schedule this year when he lost his ride at Arrow McLaren SP after 2020 with a year left on his deal.

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“I know, probably better than most, what Zach is feeling right now, and I have to say that he has handled everything about as class act as you can,” Hinchcliffe said. “I’ve known Zach as a teammate, before that as a colleague and even before that as a friend, and he is a guy that I respect in every way. I know he is a fighter and will fight back to where he wants to be.

“For me now, my focus is 100% on racing the Harvest GP and getting the best possible results for Gainbridge, for Honda, for Michael and for the team. I obviously haven’t been on a road course in a while, but at least the last time I was, it was here at IMS! Hopefully that puts us in a good position to go out there and have a strong weekend.”