The MotoGP round at CotA remains on the 2020 MotoGP schedule, with the event scheduled for Sunday, November 15.
Will it happen? MotoGP has cancelled several MotoGP round for 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Iconic MotoGP rounds like the Assen TT, Silverstone and Japanese Grand Prixs have been cut from the schedule and it’s feared more are on their way out.
There are numerous upsides and downsides to the 2020 round at Austin: let’s look at a few.
Upside: The event is still on the 2020 MotoGP schedule.
Downside: No downside.
Upside: The Austin race is scheduled for mid-November; which is months away and leaves plenty of time to work out the logistics on how to get the MotoGP carnival stateside and ready to race.
Downside: November is the start of cold and flu season. While COVID-19 isn’t a typical cold or flu, this may still be a huge factor.
Upside: CotA is located within close proximity of the Austin Bergstrom International airport. Non-stop flights to and from Europe will resume… at some point. It would not be that difficult to screen/house/transport a pared down MotoGP paddock from airport to hotel to race track to hotel and back to the airport.
Downside: No downside. Other than if a person tests positive in the USA that person can probably assume they will remain here and under quarantine until they recover.
Upside: Austin is in Texas. Which can be a well-known “no bullsh*t tolerated” haven of applied common sense.
Downside: “No bullsh*t tolerated” can be interpreted and implemented in many different ways.
Upside: Austin-Travis County health officials are fully aware that MotoGP is still a go at CotA.
Downside: Austin-Travis County health officials have capped any spectator-type event, motor-racing or not, at 2500 people for the remainder of 2020. The obvious hope for MotoGP fans is that this limit will be lifted or the limit increased.
Upside: The Formula One race at CotA remains on the 2020 F-1 schedule. It’s scheduled for October 25, which is before the MotoGP event at the same facility. If F1’s event at CotA goes off well, it will mean good things for the MotoGP race scheduled a few weeks after.
Downside: As a motorcyclist I feel almost like a traitor to my people any time I even get in a car, and admittedly don’t know much about car racing, but F1s management of the COVID-19 situation hasn’t been met with acclaim by many. One insider says “there’s still a chance that the F1 race in Texas will happen”.
We wryly note that hypothetically there’s “a chance” any one of us could be attacked and eaten by a bear. Same deal. Kind of.
Upside: Again, CotA is in Texas, a state with a long history of motorsport and motorsport events.
Downside: Motorsports does not even have a pulse in Texas when compared with Texas football. How is this relevant? Because historically Texas University football games can attract 40,000 people (or more) on game day. High school football games can see attendance figures over 20,000. Knowing this, if you think that Texas health officials will limit in-state football spectators to 2500, but will magically raise it to 30,000 or more for MotoGP, think again.