The Covid-19 coronavirus is taking a toll on motorcycle activities.
Production in China has stopped, although a number are running.
Shares of some motorcycle manufacturers have dropped.
You may already be aware that the opening round for the 2020 MotoGP Championship has been cancelled due to concerns about the Covid-19 coronavirus.
Since then, a number of other events have also fallen under the fear of spreading the disease. Travelers from certain countries to certain countries face the prospect of being placed in quarantine for 14 days, isolated from everyone else. That could mean missing transfers and pre-planned activities.
Let’s take a look.
1. Qatar MotoGP (6th to 8th March)
The Qatar MotoGP would’ve taken off by today (Friday). However, the Moto2 and Moto3 classes will go ahead, since the teams and riders have already been in the country for pre-season tests.
2. Thai MotoGP (20th to 22nd March)
Just hours later after Qatar’s announcement, the Thai MotoGP will be postponed. Thailand doesn’t have a problem of community spread, but the concentration of not only foreigners but also nationals from all over the country is the concern of the Thai government. The country reported 47 cases so far, but most of the patients have been cured.
The FIM published a new date for the Thai MotoGP yesterday, pushing it to 2nd to 4th October.
3. Phuket Bike Week 2020 (11th to 13th, 17th to 18th April)
The organizers of the Phuket Bike Week 2020 have not posted a message on the status of the event, but there are already bikers posting that it has been cancelled. This was the result of the Mayor of Patong’s announcement that Songkran activities on Patong Beach will be cancelled. The Phuket Bike Week coincides with Songkran on 13th April.
The Bike Week was planned to be held in two locations on two different dates. The first is at the customary Patong Beach from 11th to 13th April, while the second is planned to be held at the Phuket Boat Lagoon from 17th to 18th April. We await the organizers’ decision.
4. Osaka Motorcycle Show (20th to 22nd March)
The Osaka Motorcycle Show may not be well-known, but it’s been cancelled, nonetheless. The organizers apologized for the cancellation and hoped that those involved would understand. They will also refund advance ticket payments
5. Tokyo Motorcycle Show (27th to 29th March)
This show is the answer to the the Tokyo Auto Salon. Do bear in mind that such shows are not only for launching new bikes but are important trade shows for manufacturers and distributors.
In the balance
1. MotoGP of the Americas
Cancellation of the first two rounds means that the season will begin at the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, United States. There’s no change to this so far. The Vice President of the US urged citizens not to travel to Iran, South Korea and Italy. The country has since imposed a restriction to those who travelled from China, and those from Iran will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
2. Motorcycle industry
The epidemic blew up suddenly in North Italy, where the country’s motorcycle industry is located. The Italian government’s put up restrictions in this area, meaning that tourists couldn’t visit the Ducati, Piaggio, Moto Guzzi and MV Agusta museums. Motorcycle production is continuing, however.
All Chinese manufacturers have ceased production, including the Honda and Suzuki factories, although a number have begun operations at smaller scales.
The closure of Chinese industry is bad news for everyone around the world since many parts are produced here. The shutdown has also played havoc on parts and items to be dispatched to outside China.
3. Motorcycle manufacturers’ stocks
Stock markets are also declining worldwide. Pierer Mobility, parent company for KTM and Husqvarna, saw their equity drop from € 52.00 on 21st January to € 43.40 on 4th March. BMW Motorrad’s shares dropped from $ 27 in January to $ 22 in February, while the Piaggio Group’s slipped from € 2.86 in mid-January to € 2.11 early this month.
We could only hope that the virus stops or at least slows its spread. Although its death rate is much lower than SARS or MERS, who would want to take the risk of contracting it. Motorcycle events and industry are not the only ones that’ve been affected, though.