MotoGP schedule update
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MotoGP cancels three races, adds new venue for season finale

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Three more MotoGP races in Argentina, Thailand and Malaysia were canceled Friday because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and the series’ schedule update also includes another grand prix in Europe as its season finale Nov. 20-22.

Further details on the host venue will be confirmed by Aug. 10.

The updated calendar for MotoGP will include 15 events this season.

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MotoGP said its contract for the Thailand event has been extended until at least 2026, and it’s working with Argentina and Malaysia promoters on dates for the 2021 season.

Here’s the release from on the MotoGP schedule update:

The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the cancellation of the Gran Premio Motul de la Republica Argentina, OR Thailand Grand Prix and Shell Malaysia Motorcycle Grand Prix in 2020. Previously postponed, the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and resulting complications now sadly oblige the cancellation of the events to be confirmed.

However, it can now be revealed that an additional Grand Prix is to be added to the 2020 FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar. After the Gran Premio Motul de la Comunitat Valenciana, another race weekend will take place from the 20th to the 22nd of November at a venue in Europe, becoming the 2020 season finale. Further details on the host venue will be confirmed on Monday the 10th of August.

In addition, a new agreement has been reached with the promoters of the Thai GP that confirms Chang International Circuit will remain on the FIM MotoGP™ World Championship calendar until at least 2026. The racing in Buriram has been incredible since the venue joined the calendar in 2018, with the unique final corner never failing to deliver a thrill. Although the event will sadly not take place in 2020, MotoGP:tm: can now look forward to many more years of spectacular battles at one of the flagship motorsport venues in Asia.

Furthermore, Dorna has already begun working with the Promoters of Argentina and Malaysian GPs to define possible dates to propose to the FIM for the events in 2021, with plans in place to welcome fans back to the Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo and Sepang International Circuit, respectively.

The Autodromo Termas de Rio Hondo first joined the MotoGP™ calendar in 2014 and has put on a vibrant Grand Prix every year since. The grandstands are always packed as fans travel to the venue from across Latin America, with Argentinians joined by crowds from Brazil, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Uruguay, Bolivia, Paraguay and more.

Sepang International Circuit is the longest serving venue of the three and first hosted MotoGP™ in 1999. A true world leader then as now, the track is one of the longest and most challenging of the season, staging some all-time classic races. Sepang also serves up a unique experience for fans sat in the iconic grandstand complex along the main straight and into the final corner, putting spectators into the heart of the action, surrounded by the sound of MotoGP™ at full throttle.

FIM President Jorge Viegas: “I would like to thank Dorna, all the teams, the national federations and local organisers for enabling us to get back on track. In doing so, we adapt every day and we will have a very complete and competitive FIM MotoGP World Championship in 2020. The location of the 15th Grand Prix will be announced soon, and we will be back – stronger than ever!”

Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta: “It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of the Argentina, Thailand and Malaysian Grands Prix this season, and they will be very much missed on the 2020 calendar. The passion of the fans who often travel across continents to enjoy MotoGP with us in Termas de Rio Hondo, Buriram and Sepang is incredible, creating as they do such an incredible atmosphere and welcome for the sport. However, we are delighted to add another Grand Prix in Europe to the 2020 calendar, and reveal our new agreement that will see MotoGP racing in Thailand and Buriram until at least 2026. We are very much looking forward to returning to Thailand, Argentina and Malaysia next year and as always, I would like to thank the fans for their patience and understanding.”

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

F1 Sergio Perez out
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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.