Obviously, the big topic at the moment is the World stopping as the coronavirus takes hold in most countries around the World. Motocross and Supercross haven’t missed out in the madness and the 2020 MXGP calendar has been turned upside down. Geoff Meyer from our good friends at MXLarge.com spoke to Infront [Formerly Youthstream] President, Giuseppe Luongo, about the changes and future of the 2020 season. Stay tuned later as we try to find out what is happening with FELD and Monster Energy Supercross.
Giuseppe, I can’t think of any time the sport has been brought to its knees as this coronavirus has done. What is your opinion of what is happening?
Something like this has never happened in the history of our sport. The health comes before everything and we must follow and respect the indications which the government gives. Then, when it’s over, everyone will have a more clear idea of all these measures were right or not. There are special circumstances and we need to make the right decisions to respect the public health, the law and in the meantime save the Championship and all the business linked to it.
What are the biggest problems this virus has caused outside the dates being changed? I mean what is the damage to Infront with these rounds being delayed?
The damage is for everyone. As we said above, public health must come first, but at the same time, we need to save the business. Because this means saving all the people working and all the families living with this and so they don’t lose their jobs and their future. We are working very hard for this.
I have an opinion about the virus, do you? Can you explain what you think of what is happening in the world at the moment?
It’s very difficult to respond to this question because when you hear also the biggest doctors in the world they don’t have a clear idea about this virus. I think the most important is to respect what the doctors advise, so to wash your hands with disinfectant products, wear a mask if necessary, to stay at 1 meter from each other and surely stay isolated if you are sick. And call the number which every country has made available, but clearly follow the indications of your country’s government. For sure without panic, and also continue to live and believe in the future because also this virus, like others in the past, will be overcome and hopefully soon.
As you have reported, Argentina will be run in November. I can imagine this isn’t the best time for the final round of the series. Why was November selected?
Because in October we will have to put races in the Northern Hemisphere and in November the races in the Southern Hemisphere due to weather conditions. Then, Argentina is one of our best circuits and organizers and the weather at the end of November. Maybe it will be the right occasion for many people from around the world to come to Argentina to see the final MXGP event of the year and to enjoy a fantastic holiday in a very beautiful landscape to forget the coronavirus and the difficult moment caused by it. Because at this time, hopefully, it will be behind us.
I heard some talk that maybe other fly-away rounds might also go to November. Can you give any details of what might happen with for instance Indonesia and China?
For the moment China is confirmed and looking at the trend of the coronavirus hopefully it will be well cleared much before the race. In Indonesia, we are in discussion during these days to postpone these races, but we will know something more in the next few days. As you know, we are following the situation in every country with every organizer hour by hour, and together with FIM, we are ready to take all the necessary steps. Therefore we have already made several announcements with changes, but possibly others will follow. Anyway, our goal is to preserve the integrity of the Championship.
Obviously, some riders will have changed teams after October. Fortunately, I think all the big names will be on the same team. I guess this is one of the unfortunate situations the virus has caused?
Sure, the changes may create some difficulties to some, also to us, but as I said above for special circumstances needs special actions. Also for the riders who change teams in October, it’s their own decision. The Championship is considered for the calendar year and I would strongly advise to everyone to make their contracts for the calendar year [starting 1 January, ending 31 December]. The factory teams do this normally.
There is talk Portugal will be run on a different date, which makes us wonder if Spain and France will also be delayed. Can you give any details on this?
Yes, we have announced today: MXGP of Spain will go to the 10th and 11th October and the MXGP of Portugal will go to the 17th and 18th October. Concerning France, we need to see what the French government decides in the next 15 days, and how the situation is with the coronavirus in the next couple of weeks. But we must be ready to have a Championship concentrated between June and November, which if succeeds will not be bad at all, it will just change our habit of finishing at the end of September. We have to hope the coronavirus is blocked as soon as possible mainly for the health of people and then for the overall business and life of everyone.
I want to take this occasion to strongly thank the FIM, local organizers, the teams/manufacturers, and all our partners because we are working really in harmony with the common goal to solve the problem and to save the Championship.
You can see the current revised 2020 MXGP World Championship Schedule below,