Illustration for article titled Austin MotoGP Season Opener In Doubt Due To Coronavirus
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The MotoGP season was to begin this weekend in Qatar with the second round in Thailand two weeks later. However, the Thailand event has been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak in the area, and premier class competition at the Qatar race has been canceled because of travel restrictions from Italy brought about because of the virus.

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Now, the new season opener in Austin is looking very questionable after the city declared a local disaster and canceled the South by Southwest festival. The SXSW event was to begin this coming Friday and was expected to bring 75,000 people into the city. According to Austin Mayor Steve Adler, any event in the city with 2,500 or more people in attendance will be suspended unless the event organizers can prove that measures will be in place to contain the spread of contagious diseases.

The Circuit of the Americas is outside of Austin, but within the county and is likely to face the same or similar restrictions. Should the Austin race be canceled or postponed, the season-opening race would become Argentina, which was originally race number four.

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Texas has at least 17 confirmed cases of coronavirus, although none in Austin specifically. Autosport reports that the promoter has not ruled out holding the races without fans, though that seems unlikely.

Matt Brown is an automotive engineer, writer, and builder of unconventional things. Mostly vehicles.

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