The Barwa Grand Prix of Qatar – located at the Losail International Circuit 30km away from the capital, is a big event on the MotoGP calendar. It’s the first race of the season, meaning that it sets the tone and pace for the rest of the races for the entire year. It’s almost that time of year again, and MotoGP just finished their two-part test sessions that will pave the way for their first race on March 28th.
At the moment, many of the personnel supporting the event (pitlane members, engineers, racers etc.) will be stationed in Qatar for a long time since they have been in the area since the first round of preseason testing that took place on the sixth of March.
Qatar’s government has taken a very serious stance on its position regarding the COVID-19 vaccine and has been working hard to expedite its vaccination program for this calendar year. As a result, the government has access to vaccines to provide to the entirety of the MotoGP paddock.
This is a big step to come into play so early in the season; if racers and team members decide to take the government’s offer up, it would mean the chance of success for the 2021 season will be greatly heightened. The MotoGP schedule is a long and grueling adventure that spans over many different countries and has to be organized around many moving pieces. With team members and engineers working in such proximity, the risk of spreading the virus could be high, which would lead to major issues when traveling internationally between events.
Last year, Valentino Rossi fell victim to the virus and as a result, had to miss two races. In a title fight between a handful of top-tier contenders, catching the virus could completely hamper a rider’s chances of becoming the 2021 World Champion, especially if they miss more than 3-4 races during the season.