March 5, 2020 / 2:38 PM / 24 days ago

Thai Grand Prix rescheduled for October

(Reuters) - The Thai MotoGP round that was called off due to the coronavirus outbreak has been rescheduled for Oct. 4 with series organisers hoping on Thursday to complete as many races as possible in 2020 even if the calendar has to extend late into December.

FILE PHOTO: Motorcycling - MotoGP - Thailand Grand Prix - Chang International Circuit, Buriram, Thailand - October 6, 2019 Repsol Honda's Marc Marquez and Petronas Yamaha SRT's Fabio Quartararo in action during the race. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

The date change means that the Aragon Grand Prix in Spain will be brought forward a week to Sept. 27.

Thailand would have been the second round of the MotoGP season on March 22 but the race at the Chang International Circuit in the northeastern Buriram province was postponed on Monday.

The season-opener in Qatar scheduled for this Sunday has been cancelled due to quarantine and visa restrictions on visitors from Italy, with only the second and third tier Moto2 and Moto3 categories racing.

The new opener will now be at the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on April 5.

Carmelo Ezpeleta, chief executive of MotoGP rights holder and promoter Dorna, told reporters at Qatar’s Losail circuit that 13 races was contractually the minimum for the world championship to be valid.

“Our aim is to do, if we can, the 19 remaining races,” he said. “And they are possibilities.

“Even in the worse case, even in the most cancellations, we have time. Maybe we will race in countries where it is hot in Christmas. Our duty is to make races and we will do races.

“Maybe they need to postpone the FIM prizegiving ceremony,” he said of a gala scheduled by the governing body for Monaco on Nov. 22.

The season is scheduled officially to end in Valencia on Nov. 15.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis

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