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Pro Motocross Championship delays season opener until at least August

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The Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship announced the postponement of its 2020 season Wednesday.

The series is targeting an August opener for the season, which had been scheduled to begin July 18 in Indiana (after initially being delayed to June 13 after the Supercross season was put on hold).

The series cited ongoing concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic as the reason for the delay.

“From the moment we were forced to delay the original start of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in May, we have diligently worked towards developing as complete a championship-caliber calendar as possible for both our athletes and our fans,” MX Sports Pro Racing CEO Carrie Russell said in a release. “In tandem with our event organizers, we have been in constant communication with local officials from the government, health department, and department of public safety for each respective venue to ensure every National is operated in accordance with social distancing measures established by each county and the CDC.

“Following the recent spike in positive cases around the country, a pause is warranted as we evaluate the impact of the stall in state-issued reopening phases and newly implemented travel quarantines,” continued Russell. “Our manufacturers are the lifeblood of American motocross, and we stand by them with our support in times of need. As a result of recent developments, MX Sports Pro Racing needs to take the definitive and proactive step of postponing the start of the season temporarily, which will allow us to work through the current challenges we face.”

Here’s the release from the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship:

Despite the tireless and sustained efforts on behalf of both series and event organizers, MX Sports Pro Racing has made the difficult decision to further postpone the start of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship, sanctioned by AMA Pro Racing. The previously announced opening pair of events were slated to begin in just over two weeks, on July 18, with the Circle K Ironman National in Indiana, followed by the GEICO Motorcycle WW Ranch National in Florida on July 25. However, due to ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, notably recent spikes of positive cases in a significant number of states, series managers deem it necessary to push back the start of the series once more. MX Sports Pro Racing will now look to begin the season in August.

“From the moment we were forced to delay the original start of the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship in May, we have diligently worked towards developing as complete a championship-caliber calendar as possible for both our athletes and our fans,” said Carrie Russell, CEO of MX Sports Pro Racing. “In tandem with our event organizers, we have been in constant communication with local officials from the government, health department, and department of public safety for each respective venue to ensure every National is operated in accordance with social distancing measures established by each county and the CDC.

“Following the recent spike in positive cases around the country, a pause is warranted as we evaluate the impact of the stall in state-issued reopening phases and newly implemented travel quarantines,” continued Russell. “Our manufacturers are the lifeblood of American motocross, and we stand by them with our support in times of need. As a result of recent developments, MX Sports Pro Racing needs to take the definitive and proactive step of postponing the start of the season temporarily, which will allow us to work through the current challenges we face.”

In response to this latest decision, MX Sports Pro Racing and event organizers will continue to maintain extensive communication with local officials. The evolution of the pandemic has included dramatic changes from one week to the next, and as states and counties take necessary action to confront the latest concerns of the coronavirus spread, MX Sports Pro Racing will be in a position to take immediate action when the opportunity arises to confirm events at a future date when the time is right.

“It is our sole focus to host a successful season that will not only allow us to crown a pair of AMA National Champions, but will also allow our incredibly loyal fanbase to celebrate the return of racing by cheering on their favorite riders,” concluded  Russell. “These are extraordinary times that have had a significant impact on our industry, and that has called for us to take unprecedented action on behalf of the well-being of our community. This sport is a family, and we will not be deterred from accomplishing our goal, despite this adversity. We remain steadfast in bringing everyone the 2020 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship they deserve. Our event organizers have put in far too much effort, while our broadcast partners, series sponsors, manufacturers, participants, and fans have all shown tremendous patience. We owe it to all of them to bring this season to fruition, and we’ll do everything in our power to make that happen.”

Online tickets previously purchased for the Ironman and WW Ranch Nationals will be honored at the to-be-announced rescheduled dates. Refund requests will be honored by contacting the respective event organizers.

Sergio Perez still has coronavirus; will miss second consecutive F1 race

F1 Sergio Perez out
Laurent Charniaux/Pool via Getty Images
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SILVERSTONE, England — Sergio Perez will be out for a second F1 race at Silverstone this week after again testing positive for the coronavirus.

The Mexican driver had hoped to return to Formula One after spending seven days in quarantine, but his Racing Point team said this morning he had tested positive.

“He is physically well and recovering,” the team said. “The whole team wishes Sergio and his family well and we look forward to his return.”

That means German veteran Nico Hulkenberg again fills in for Sunday’s 70th Anniversary Grand Prix after having also replaced Sergio Perez when he was out for the F1 British Grand Prix at the same venue last week. Hulkenberg did not start that race because of an engine problem.

There are two consecutive weekends of racing at Silverstone as Formula One tries to pack in races following the pandemic-delayed start to the season.

Perez became the first Formula One driver to test positive for coronavirus, and it had been unclear whether he would be available to drive after the period of quarantine was extended to 10 days.

Racing Point also was in the news Friday after being hit with a 15-point penalty in the Formula One constructors’ championship and fined 400,000 euros ($470,000) Friday for using brake ducts based on those from last year’s Mercedes cars.

The stewards ruled that Mercedes was the “principal designer” of the parts, and that Racing Point made only minor changes to computer design data it received from Mercedes.

Rival team Renault filed protests about the legality of the brake ducts, which were added to the “listed parts” under F1 rules for 2020. That means teams must design their own. Racing Point argued it was merely using information about the Mercedes parts to inform its own design.

Racing Point uses customer engines from Mercedes and has admitted basing its 2020 car design on photographs of last year’s Mercedes car. The similarities led to the Racing Point being nicknamed the “pink Mercedes” when it was first seen in testing ahead of the season.

Racing Point can appeal the ruling. The points deduction drops the team from fifth to sixth in the standings, below Renault. The ruling doesn’t affect the points totals for Racing Point’s drivers.