Our shot with a view from Doha Airport towards the city skyline. The Losail International Circuit, where the shakedown and the first MotoGP tests will begin on March 5th, is just under 30 km behind. Entry into the desert state is currently prohibited for tourists.

Screens blank at the Qatar test – the fans are excluded

By choosing Losail as the start of the season and after deleting Argentina and Texas even as a double race, the Dorna did the fans no favors. Because the country has an entry ban due to the pandemic, even the well-heeled are excluded from viewers from the outset. There are also no tickets to buy, so entry is not worth it anyway. If someone should come up with the idea of flying there on a bogus business trip, we strongly advise against doing so. The “Tyrol trick” with tourist trips and overnight stays is not a good idea for Qatar. For example, if you go outside and have not installed the mandatory app, you can take up to 2 years in prison. Here, of all places, where you can only travel by plane and thus run a high Codid-19 infection risk, Dorna has set tests and the start of the season. The big hit is: The Qatar test is on the screen – the fans are excluded!

Dorna’s outrageously expensive VideoPass subscription includes a fraudulent label, see arrow above right. Losail is currently being driven and all tests were originally promised to live subscription customers with live broadcasts. But nothing came of it and anyone who bought or extended the subscription now feels rightly cheated.

The incalculable risk from questionable planning

With their extremely questionable planning, FIM and Dorna are taking an incalculable risk. Any flight that is not absolutely necessary means a high risk of infection, which is why all governments advise against unnecessary travel. And a start to the season in Qatar is definitely not absolutely necessary. Not only for yourself and the continuation of the season, but also for all members of the MotoGP paddock. In addition, the fans and streaming subscription customers pay a high price to be completely excluded from the first action on the route in the desert state.

When the engines of the bikes are not roaring, you can hear the powerful diesel generators humming around the track and also on the edge of the paddock. From the main stand you can hardly see the drivers because they disappear into the night. Curve 2 can just be seen on the left at the edge of the picture.

Little tension in the first tests
Admittedly, at 1 p.m. on March 5, 2021, next to nothing went well and the first shakedown with test drivers and the rookies hardly contained any tension. But shortly afterwards it starts and of course without Marquez for the time being. The writers who wanted to make the fans believe with headlines that there was news about its condition and comeback, exposed themselves as liars in the content. The only fascinating thing before the first race on March 28th is the times of the rookies. The established stars of the scene should be careful not to go to work with too high a risk before the double race. Anyone seriously injured may lose participation in two consecutive races. Marc Marquez, Cal Crutchlow and Alex Rins can sing a song about it. About live timing: In the afternoon there was even a long total failure and the live timing page did not work for a long time. When we last checked the time monitor shortly after 4 p.m., Stefan Bradl was the fastest, but about 5 seconds below Marquez’s lap record.

The only refreshment stand behind the main grandstand of the Losail International Circuit photographed by us in March 2019. There is hardly anything on offer for spectators here and the catering offer is underground. Warning to all football fans regarding the World Cup planned in this country: There was no beer to buy here, not even in supermarkets. Only at the international airport did we see wine and beer on offer and the majority of the hotels refrained from serving alcoholic beverages.

Most important hope for the fans – the beginning in Europe

After it is almost certain that the overseas races and with it the first and second provisional calendars from FIM and Dorna will remain an illusion, the most important hope for the fans is a functioning start in Europe. Since it was allowed to test in Portugal under strict conditions and the WorldSBK was just there with the world champion, a postponement of the continuation in this country is conceivable. But you have to cross all fingers and cross your fingers that there will be no accumulation of Covid-19 infections in the paddock before April 18. Perhaps a little miracle will happen and Marquez will also use his RC213V for the first time in Portugal. The following test days are currently planned after the shakedown on March 5th:
MotoGP: March 6th and 7th, then March 10th to 12th.
Moto2 / 3: March 19-21.

Photographed by us in September 2019 at the WorldSBK event inside the main stand of the Autodromo do Algarve – most of the stalls remained closed. It is unlikely that they will be open for the MotoGP race from April 16-18, 2021.
For the sake of completeness, also our photo from the other side in September 2019 in Portimão, when the WSBK visitors needed a lot of patience, as they did in front of the main entrance.