The biggest visual difference for MotoGP's planned 'closed-door' races at Jerez in July will be the lack of any fans in the grandstands.

But the need for riders, teams and other essential paddock members to respect social distancing rules will also change familiar pre- and post-race rituals such as the grid, parc ferme and podium.

A Dorna spokesman told Crash.net that they are still finalising the exact changes needed: "We will try to host the GPs with the same format. All the [normal] processes will go ahead with less people and contemplating all the [safety] restrictions of the local authorities."

Among those restrictions will be the standard 'social distance' advice to keep a gap of at least two metres between people.

With that in mind, the grid procedure is likely to be similar to that used for a 'quick restart', when only the rider and one mechanic are present.

Parc ferme would need to be enlarged and perhaps partitioned to keep the celebrating riders and teams (if allowed) more than two metres apart.

Meanwhile, might the podium ceremony look something like the mock-up image above?

The usual presenting of trophies and shaking of hands by VIPs would surely go against current medical advice, but will the riders be required to wear face masks and what about the champagne?

Perhaps riders will be allowed to spray each other, as long as they remain confined to their own podium step…

Teams will be 'like a family in lockdown'

But social distancing won't be possible for mechanics working together on a bike. As such, each MotoGP team could be treated as a 'family in lockdown' together and won't be allowed to mix with the rest of the paddock.

"Dorna are defining a medical protocol with all the instructions. What I feel is the team has to become a kind of a family. Like now, where we are all locked down at home and you only have contact with your family," explained Suzuki team manager Davide Brivio.

"Because inside the team, it's difficult to keep social distancing. It's difficult to keep mechanics two metres away from each other, or to keep the rider two metres away from his engineer.

"I can stay two metres away from the mechanics probably and shout if I have to talk to them! But if the three mechanics have to work on the bike, the bike is small.

"That's why we are very interested to hear the medical protocol, and then we will discuss it and adapt all our jobs."

From what Brivio knows so far, he suspects the daily race weekend routine will be as follows:

"It looks like we will have to do [coronavirus] tests before we arrive at the circuit. Then, if everything is negative, we will go into the circuit.

"Once we're there, the team has to stay in the garage, or at least the garage and truck, like one family in lockdown more-or-less, avoiding as much as possible contact with other people in the paddock.

"It won't be like before where you can go around the paddock, chat and communicate, and then in the evening relax and meet friends. That's probably not the life for this year.

"We'll work in the garage, take a lunch box, have lunch, have dinner, go to the hotel, go to sleep, and the next morning, come back to the circuit. That's the life for these days, I think."

But even with such a 'paddock lockdown' in place, Brivio emphasised there will always be some level of risk.

"Let's be clear, it's impossible to have zero risk, in my opinion," he said. "The medical protocol will try to avoid risk. Because otherwise, if we want zero risks, we have to stay in lockdown until probably the vaccine arrives in 18 months.

"So maybe by the end of 2021 we can finally leave our house and start a normal life, once we get a vaccine. Otherwise [until then] we have to try to reduce the risk. So that's what we will try to do."

Quarantine for non-EU staff

Meanwhile, staff or riders outside of the EU face additional hurdles just to reach the circuit and, to avoid a constant cycle of quarantine, might not be able to return home until the end of the season.

Brivio said that while the majority of the Suzuki race team are based in Italy, their closed-door line-up also includes staff from Spain, England, France and 'six or seven' people in Japan.

"The situation is not clear at the moment," he said. "For example, if you want to enter Italy now, you have to stay in quarantine for two weeks. That's what I understand from going through various websites and regulations.

"If you are within Europe already - so for Italians, French, Spanish, probably English, German, whatever - you should be allowed to reach Spain without quarantine.

"But probably the Japanese staff will have to come earlier to Europe, do the quarantine, and then go to Jerez. Or probably go to Jerez, do the quarantine in a hotel, and then get out of the hotel and go to the circuit."

The irony is that paddock members based in places like Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand or New Zealand will be facing quarantine despite arriving from countries with only a fraction of the coronavirus cases/deaths recorded in Europe.

Those same staff are then likely to face another two-week quarantine upon their return home, hence they may be forced to remain in the EU until the end of the (European) season.

Latest 2020 MotoGP Calendar (including free weekends)

Round

Date

Race

Circuit

 

8 March

Qatar (MotoGP cancelled)

Losail

 

17 May

France (postponed)

Le Mans

 

31 May

Italy (postponed)

Mugello

 

7 June

Catalunya (postponed)

Barcelona

 

21 June

Germany (cancelled)

Sachsenring

 

28 June

Netherlands (cancelled)

Assen

 

12 July

Finland (cancelled)

KymiRing

1

19 July

Spain (proposed)

Jerez (rescheduled)

2

26 July

Andalusia (proposed)

Jerez

 

2 August

 

 

3

9 August

Czech Republic

Brno

4

16 August

Austria

Red Bull Ring

 

23 August

  

5

30 August

Great Britain

Silverstone

 

6 September

  

6

13 September

San Marino

Misano

 

20 September

  

7

27 September

Aragon

Aragon (rescheduled)

8

4 October

Thailand

Buriram (rescheduled)

 

11 October

  

9

18 October

Japan

Motegi

10

25 October

Australia

Phillip Island

11

1 November

Malaysia

Sepang

 

8 November

  

12

15 November

Americas

COTA (rescheduled)

13

22 November

Argentina

Termas de Rio Hondo (rescheduled)

14

29 November

Valencia

Ricardo Tormo (rescheduled)

November seen as cut-off for European races

 

6 December

 

 

 

13 December

 

Mid-December seen as cut-off for races outside Europe

 

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