Photographed by us at the Malaysian Grand Prix on the Sepang Circuit before the grandstands filled up. Malaysia is one of the few Asian countries that has not been hit very hard by the corona pandemic, at least so far. Precisely for this reason and for a reason explained below, tests in February were out of the question here.

The lack of security of Covid-19 tests

Countless politicians as well as journalists have been making the same mistakes over and over again on some points for a long time. One of them is to speak or write about a so-called “return to normalcy”. This is total senseless and leads often to misunderstanding. As experts have been emphasizing since spring last year, at least in the coming years there will be no everyday life as we knew it (until the beginning of 2020). The same applies to the completely lack of security of Covid-19 tests. This is a pure illusion. Invented and mentioned again and again to justify something that shouldn’t actually be. Namely, to use this as a free pass, for example to travel by air, or to attend events with many people.

Shortly before the start of the Superpole Race of the WorldSBK at the Autodromo do Algarve 2019, we photographed the view of the grandstands with curve 2 on the right side of the picture. Lots of empty seats and almost heavenly conditions for spectators. Keeping enough distance would be the least of the problems here today.

One example – FC Bayern player Thomas Müller

Two players were not even allowed to enter Doha because their Covid tests showed a positive result when Bayern went to the desert state. Before the final of the Club World Cup in the evening, the bad news came: Thomas Müller as one of the most important team members of the traditional club had also tested positive. When the first report was made, it was unclear whether other players were affected, as reported. We pointed out some time ago: Corona tests are pure momentary recordings. A few minutes or hours after someone was still negative, i.e. virus-free, they can become infected. In principle, the currently popular test certificates are rarely worth the paper on which they were printed.

Our photograph inside the main grandstand of Portimão, at one of the few food stands open at the WorldSBK Event 2019. Here at the latest the very last person understands where the problem of “social distancing” lies and why it can never work for people.

The questionability and the danger of tests and races in Losail

The example from the Australian Open showed a problem that the people of the Dorna had evidently missed. To put it bluntly, the outcome of the tournament is already of minor sporting value before the first ball has been played. Unfortunately, one infected person had traveled on the same plane with a large number of players. As a result, those affected had to be in strict quarantine for 2 weeks. The absolute stars of the scene, who were even housed in a completely different location, were abselutely priviledged on the other hand. They could train freely, while most of their unfortunate colleagues in the hotel room could only keep themselves fit by jumping rope and similar exercises. Regardless of who wins the first Grand Slam tournament of the year, there is a serious flaw in his title. FIM and Dorna are now taking just such a risk with their MotoGP calendar.

Photographed by us behind the main grandstand in Losail shortly before the last MotoGP race of the “pre-corona era”. Arriving here together in planes and thus coming into contact with many people in these narrow tins and at the airport entails a high and hardly calculable risk. One can only hope that it will go well anyway.

At least some consolation for the MotoGP season 2021 remains

In comparison to the previous year, despite all the unnecessary risk, the season opener in Qatar is also a great consolation. This time, unlike last year, the skewers will definitely be the same or at least similarly long. We remember well when the lockdown came early in Austria, as we were guests there more or less by chance. We did well and at that time, apart from selfish hamster purchasers, the majority of the population was still fairly sensible about the new situation. In the Alpine republic, the relaxation came much earlier than in Italy and Spain, where most of the teams are based.

Ron Woods from the Rolling Stones photographed on the big screen by us in September 2018 in Spielberg, below the Red Bull Ring. Since we could not find any closer accommodation, we had to bite our teeth with our Kawasaki at below 10 degrees celsius and wet track for a good hour until we were in the hotel. In May 2020, KTM tested here earlier than all the other teams, from which they profited extremely in the first half of the season, also because the Michelin tires were completely new.

Like at the Australian Open 2021 – unevenly distributed opportunities
The big profiteers were hardly surprising. KTM not only took advantage of this shamelessly and went on the house route in May with the support of Michelin. No, even in Brno and Misano they got priceless advantages when they were allowed to test completely legally almost everywhere as a “concession team”. Later, sports director Pit Beirer publicly made fun of the competition when he emphasized via Red Bull Media that he did not understand why their competitors had started so late in terms of their test drives. Today everyone knows the result of the unevenly distributed opportunities. Up until the first race in Misano, the KTM riders were suddenly stronger than ever. This will not happen again, also because the oranges have lost their concession status. At least this is a consolation that may apply to the MotoGP season 2021.

The KTM riders often bowled each other out of the race last year, like Brad Binder here, who brought Miguel Oliveira down on the 2nd weekend in Jerez. Without the mistakes and similar actions Pol Espargaró often made, their season would have been even better (© MotoGP).