Doha: The opening race of the MotoGP season in Qatar, which was scheduled to take place on March 8, has been cancelled due to coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement, the international motorcycling federation (FIM) announced: "Due to Qatar travel restrictions brought into force affecting passengers from Italy (amongst other countries), the premier class will not race at the Losail circuit."
"The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has resulted in Qatar travel restrictions being brought into force that affect passengers from Italy, amongst other countries. As of today, all passengers arriving at Doha on direct flights from Italy, or having been in Italy in the past 2 weeks, will be taken straight to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days."
"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," the statement said.
However, the Moto2 and Moto3 world championship races will go ahead as planned at the desert track as riders and teams were already in the gulf state preparing for the event with winter testing.
"The lightweight and intermediate classes will therefore compete in their season opener from the 6th to 8th March. The same will apply to the Asia Talent Cup, which will have two races during the Qatar Grand Prix as originally planned," the FIM further said.
Globally, around 86,000 people have been infected with COVID-19 and almost 3,000 people lost their lives.
The second round of the MotoGP season is scheduled to be held in Thailand on March 22.