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MotoGP cancels events in UK, Australia

A general view during the 2019 MotoGP of Australia at Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The MotoGP motorcycling series has announced the cancellation of this year’s British and Australian grands prix as its calendar continues to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The British Grand Prix had been due to take place from August 28-30 at Silverstone but this, along with the corresponding British Talent Cup, has been cancelled.

The cancellation means that this year will mark the first time in MotoGP’s history that the series has not held any track action on the British Isles. The 2018 British Grand Prix was cancelled due to heavy rain, although qualifying did take place.

The Australian Grand Prix had been scheduled for October 23-25 at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit in Victoria. The circuit first hosted the Australian Grand Prix in 1989 and has served as the race’s only home since 1997.

Silverstone managing director Stuart Pringle said: “We are extremely disappointed about the cancellation of the British MotoGP event, not least as the cancelled race in 2018 is still such a recent memory, but we support the decision that has had to be taken at this exceptional time.”

Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive of MotoGP promoter Dorna Sports, added: “We’re saddened to have to announce the cancellation of these iconic events after finding no way through the logistical and operational issues resulting from the pandemic and rearranged calendar.”

The 2020 MotoGP season has yet to begin due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The season had been due to start in March with the Qatar Grand Prix.

Dorna has yet to publish plans to begin the 2020 season but MotoGP has agreed a deal to host two rounds in Jerez in July, pending approval from the Spanish government.

Spain’s High Council of Sports (CSD) has this week set up a working group with Dorna Sports and the Spanish Motorcycling Federation (RFME) to organise the two grands prix. It is hoped that Jerez will host events on July 19 and July 26.

CSD president Irene Lozano said: “The government is aware of the importance of motorcycling for Spanish sport, the relevance that society attaches to it and its enormous impact on the reputation of our country, not only from a sporting point of view, but also for its innovation and the development of new technologies.”