The International Race Teams’ Association (IRTA) has vented its frustrations at several riders, issuing an open letter to the MotoGP paddock scolding them for breaking the COVID-19 bubble.
Strict COVID-19 protocols have been in place throughout this season, with paddock numbers reduced and regular testing taking place.
Riders and paddock members have also been under strict instruction to remain within the circuit/hotel bubble when back-to-back races take place at the same circuit, with travel outside the bubble only allowed for “important business reasons”.
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That rule has been broken repeatedly at Aragon, with several riders breaching the bubble between rounds.
That follows Yamaha’s Valentino Rossi being ruled out of both rounds of the Aragon Grand Prix, diagnosed with COVID-19 after travelling home to Italy from Le Mans. Moto3 rider Tony Arbolino also sat out the first Aragon round to quarantine after sitting close to someone on a plane to Italy who tested positive for the virus.
Moto3 rider Riccardo Rossi and Moto2 rider Jorge Martin have both missed races because of positive tests, and several paddock personnel have also caught the virus since the season commenced in July.
IRTA, alongside Dorna, has now sent a letter to the riders making its feelings about the breaches clear.
“With the testing procedures and the precautions that you are taking within the paddock, such as social distancing, the wearing of masks and confining activities to team and company bubbles, the MotoGP paddock probably poses a minimal risk of COVID-19 infection compared with the risk in the outside community,” the letter read.
“The biggest risk comes from individuals contracting the disease at their homes or during travel.”
While IRTA concede it is impossible to determine where people have picked up the virus, it insists the “evidence” points to it being caught outside of the paddock.
It has “strongly urged” the paddock to obey the rules for the final three rounds of the season.
“It has been noticed that some people have started to relax compliance with the safety measures required in the paddock and pit boxes,” the letter read.
“Images have appeared on TV and social media of staff celebrating with riders whilst not wearing face masks.
“If we want to be permitted to continue running events we have to demonstrate to the outside world that we are respecting the conditions that were agreed as a condition of obtaining permission.
“Please do not prejudice the completion of the season!”