We photographed the evening mood on the coast of Cowes on Phillip Island on February 28, 2020. It’s the biggest place on the island and definitely not worth the trip. We were compensated for this with the WSBK season opener and thus the last race of the “pre-pandemic period”.

Where we were in Australia a year ago – quarantine zone today!

When we started back from Phillip Island, Australia after the WorldSBK event, we had decided on an airport hotel. One of the reasons for this was that our “Hotel” in Cowes had at least 2-3 stars too much. A bad joke considering what we got for the impudent price. We didn’t find a restaurant that was even halfway sensible in the small coastal village. Everything was terribly expensive, but catastrophically bad. So we had already decided to check out a day earlier for race Sunday and to spend the night at the airport. The next day we traveled back to Europe from Melbourne Airport via Singapore. Yesterday we received the news that Melbourne has imposed an immediate lockdown.

Maximilian Scheib in front of Alex Lowes (both Kawasaki) and Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha) – photographed by us in the Superpole at Phillip Island in Turn 5. The fast Chilean had not only impressed us at the season opener of the Superbike World Championship Down Under.

The bang at the Australian Open – Lockdown!

As regular viewers of various tennis broadcasts, this time we are practically part of the crowd of the first Grand Slam tennis tournament of the year via streaming and Eurosport player. We were already wondering how carefree everything seemed there with regard to spectators and the pandemic. Without masks, most of the people walked and sat happily in the stands. No “social distancing”, absolutely nothing like this, and then, in the middle of the match of the number 1 in the world the hammer came. Lockdown due to pandemic outbreak at Melbourne Airport! All viewers were immediately sent home, and it is running there from now on as we got to know about a year ago. Since then, everything has taken place in front of empty spectator stands. We did a little research and lo and behold: We were in today’s “Corona Hotel” at Melbourne Airport. It is now sealed off and the guests present are no longer allowed to leave it.

Jonathan Rea leading the pack – something like that sounded out of the loudspeakers when we took this photograph on March 1st, 2020 in the Honda Corner in the Superpole Race of the WorldSBK. For the Australians, the Northern Irishman with a second residence in Australia and his wife from there is considered to be one of them.

Races in Australia 2021 – almost unthinkable

As our readers have known since November last year, holding races overseas is actually unthinkable for the time being. Of course, Dorna has multi-year contracts with the various organizers and cannot cancel all races outside of Europe on its own initiative. So we were told that MotoGP and WorldSBK had a rather strange calendar. The test rides were probably similar, but a MotoGP test in Sepang in February was basically a crazy idea. To some viewers, it may also have appeared defiant. In any case, all experts have been warning for more than half a year not to talk about a “return to normality”. This is pure window dressing, even if far too many politicians and journalists fall into precisely this mistake again and again. Note: We are in the second year of the Corona era, which will last for several years.

Our panorama photography at the Losail circuit in March 2019 – the fact that MotoGP wants to start with tests and races here in one month carries numerous incalculable risks. The main problem with this is that drivers and teams can only arrive by plane. As many players at the Australian Open found out: Basically, the proximity of a single infected person is enough to have to be in quarantine for 2 weeks. Negative test certificates, on the other hand, do not help a bit. From the first Losail tests to the second race, numerous arrivals and departures can be expected within almost a month.

The provisional combined calendar MotoGP & WSBK

In the meantime, also the last optimists understood. Even scribblers who reproduced the first calendar without criticism are already doubting various events of the 2nd edition on January 22nd by FIM and Dorna. Since it has become more and more clear that corona vaccinations can sometimes only be effective after up to 5 weeks, this supposed security has also become an illusion. All the more, since it became clear that these almost certainly would not help against numerous mutations.

In red letters the theoretical overlaps of MotoGP with WorldSBK, whereby the overseas races are likely to be illusory from the current perspective.

No absolute safety when traveling – but increased risk
Every child should also be aware of the worthlessness of vaccination certificates. Basically they are pure alibi exercise to try to legitimize travel. There is currently no such thing as absolute safety when traveling, just an associated increased risk. In any case, drivers, teams and fans should be happy if they can drive again in 2021. In the end, it doesn’t really matter where this is. Since there will probably be no spectators on the track, mostly or at all, we have to try to accept this too. Just like the fact that the WSBK has to do without a paddock show.

From left Jorge Lorenzo (Repsol Honda), Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha) and “Pecco” Bagnaia (Pramac Ducati). Photographed by us before the start in Losail 2019, the last race of the premier class in Qatar so far. If everyone has more luck than brains, there will be a double new edition two years later, with the Spaniard then no longer participating.