Like everyone involved in MotoGP, Razlan Razali, team principal of Petronas Yamaha, is hoping for the best-case scenario of a return to racing in July or August.

But he also believes it's essential to plan for the worst-case scenario, cancellation of the entire 2020 MotoGP season due to the coronavirus, by assigning a cut-off date.

"It's a very difficult situation for Dorna and the FIM, but we need to have some kind of indication of when they would call off the championship, so that we can prepare for it," Razali told Crash.net.

"We can prepare our team members, everything, in the event that if we cross that particular month and there is nothing going on, then it's considered the [2020] championship is gone."

The Malaysian added: "We have to talk about it. We have to plan. We don’t want a situation where we suddenly say we can't race. Then what happens? Everybody is scrambling to know what's going on.

"So it's better for us to put some effort now and plan what's the worst case. Because right now everybody is just observing the current situation, not actually planning what happens if there is no racing.

"The best thing is to plan for the worst. Because then, anything that improves the situation, is better."

Null and void

If the worst-case scenario does occur and the 2020 season is declared null and void, Razali recently raised eyebrows by suggesting current rider contracts should be carried over to 2021.

That would notably mean Fabio Quartararo remaining with the Petronas squad to serve his planned second season, despite already signing to join the factory Yamaha team next year, and Valentino Rossi likewise remaining in place.

The three other riders signed for 2021 - Marc Marquez (Honda), Alex Rins (Suzuki) and Tito Rabat (Avintia) - have extended with their present teams anyway, but Marquez recently agreed with Razali that rider contracts, just like engine and aero, should be 'frozen' for this year.

But it's not just rider contracts, Razali is concerned that simply scrapping a season's worth of agreements would be detrimental to the sport.

"Well in theory, if the season this year is declared null and void, then my view is that everything should be null and void and carry forward to next year," the Malaysian explained, in answer to the Quartararo 2021 question.

"Of course, some riders have already signed for next year with a lot more money and they'd like to go there for that kind of money.

"But don’t forget, if we put the riders aside, what about the promoters and sponsors for a grand prix? What happens then? If 'null and void' then maybe they wouldn't want to continue next year.

"So it's not as easy as to say 'okay, championship cancelled this year, whatever has been signed for 2021 we'll continue from there'. I don’t think it's as simple as that.

"But as I said, it's better to sit down and discuss it. Because now the possibility of not having a race is there…

"If you look at everybody's contract there is always force majeure included, but nobody really thinks anything drastic is going to happen. But the possibility of not having a race can happen, so we cannot be in denial and not talk about it."

Quarantine for two weeks?

Speaking to BT Sport on Sunday, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta said: "we are optimistic about the possibility of making a season between July and November."

It would involve racing in Europe and driving from circuit to circuit, with events held behind closed doors.

However not all MotoGP paddock members are based in Europe and the future requirements for those needing to enter the continent are unclear.

"Exactly. That is the sensitive and difficult part, not knowing the border restrictions for each country," said Razali, speaking before Ezpeleta's announcement.

"I think for those in Europe it would not be so much of a problem, you could go across to another country by land instead of by plane. And I think right now everybody is trying to avoid flights!

"It's guys like us from Asia, Australia, America that will probably struggle a little bit to go to Europe, with the possibility of being quarantined for two weeks and all that.

"Similarly, whether our [own] countries will impose restrictions of 14 days quarantine for anybody coming in. We don't know right now.

"I guess once most countries start lifting their lockdowns then we can further understand what the post-lockdown restrictions will be.

"Some countries, Holland and Germany, have already extended the ban on large events until the end of August. Already there are talks in Malaysia from the Ministry of Health that once the lockdown is lifted we are looking at a minimum of six months of no big events. But it's just a discussion at the moment.

"So we just have to wait until the actual lockdown is lifted and then we'll see what happens."

With so much still up in the air, ongoing communication between Dorna, IRTA and the teams is vital.

"They've done very well to engage with us, I receive a call from Dorna and IRTA nearly once a week to talk about the situation. It's the same kind of [video] interview we are having now," Razali said.

"Hopefully IRTA will also soon have a committee meeting by video conference with everybody."

 

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