Fabio Quartararo (left) and Franco Morbidelli. Photo: Bernama

KUALA LUMPUR: Petronas Yamaha Sepang Racing Team (SRT) duo Franco Morbidelli and Fabio Quartararo are chomping at the bit as they await the restart of the MotoGP championships next month after the races were halted due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Quartararo revealed that he was delighted with the recent announcement by Dorna Sports, the holder of MotoGP’s exclusive commercial and television rights, and the International Road-Racing Teams Association (IRTA) on the latest revised MotoGP calendar that will see 16 races taking place, including the Malaysian MotoGP in November.

“It will be a different calendar, the only one that can go ahead in this extraordinary situation. We will have back-to-back races at the same circuit and fewer GPs, but I think the most important thing is to take it one race at a time,” he was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the team today.

“We will have to be really careful with crashes and injuries because, with such a tight championship, one injury can mean you may be out of a lot of races. It will also be important to follow the protocols strictly,” added the French-born rider, who secured seven podium finishes last season.

Morbidelli, who shared his sentiment, thanked Dorna Sports and IRTA for ensuring that riders could get back to normal racing next month.

“We will miss the fans a lot and the normal GP weekend atmosphere, but we understand that this is a provisional situation and life will return to normal soon.

“To get there, we need to keep acting safely and responsibly. Dorna and IRTA have been able to organise what seemed impossible, so now we must follow their advice and avoid any last-minute issues,” said the Italian rider.

Morbidelli said the team also needed to avoid any untoward incidents as they would be competing in 13 rounds of races in 18 weeks.

Meanwhile, Petronas Yamaha SRT principal Datuk Razlan Razali pointed out that the team would adhere to the strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) set by Dorna Sports in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“The first (few) races will be without fans and with fewer people in the paddock than previously. In time, we hope to work back to normality but, for now, there are restrictions in place,” Razlan said.

“The initial calendar is Europe-heavy, but Dorna is pushing hard for non-European races too, with the schedule set to be finalised by end of July. There is still a possibility that we may visit America, Argentina, Thailand and/or Malaysia. Given how much progress has been made in the past seven weeks, many positive things can still happen in the next seven weeks before the deadline,” he said.

The 2020 MotoGP World Championship will consist of 13 rounds across Europe between July and November, with the potential for four overseas rounds to be contested in November and December.

The first of these rounds will see the teams travel to Spain for two weekends of racing action at Jerez on July 19 and July 26. – Bernama