Qatar already had travel restrictions in place in February, which MotoGP officials were trying to negotiate exemptions for, but when the country’s first recorded case of the coronavirus was reportedly announced on 29 February, those restrictions were immediately expanded, meaning anyone flying direct to Qatar from Italy (and other countries) or having spent any time in Italy in the past fortnight before their arrival would be subject to an automatic 14-day quarantine period.
“Italy clearly plays a vital role in the Championship and in the MotoGP class - both on track and off - and therefore the decision has been taken to cancel premier class competition,” Dorna said in a statement on 1 March.
“FIM, IRTA and Dorna regret to announce the cancellation of all MotoGP class sessions at the Grand Prix of Qatar, including the race.”
Obviously, the new restrictions made the round unfeasible, as all Italian arrivals would still be in quarantine on the round’s 8 March race date, even if they left Italy on the day of the announcement.
Both Moto2 and Moto3 will race at Qatar, as the majority of riders and teams in these classes are still in the country for the final pre-season test session at Losail that wrapped up on 1 March.
With Qatar also due to host the second round of the World Superbike Championship on 13-15 March, the same travel restrictions that impacted MotoGP have led to that round being postponed until further notice.