MotoAmerica is set to become the first major bike racing championship to return to action following the global coronavirus pandemic at Road America this weekend.
The US-based series will hold its first round at the famous Wisconsin venue without fans present after a delay of more than two months owing to the COVID-19 crisis, with strict social distancing protocols in place to mitigate any health risks.
It hopes to be able to welcome fans back for a second round at Road America on June 26-28, before heading on to Road Atlanta for its third fixture on July 31-August 2.
Further rounds are then planned for Pittsburgh, The Ridge in Washington, New Jersey, Barber Motorsports Park, Indianapolis, Laguna Seca and finally the Circuit of the Americas, where the season had originally been due to begin back in March.
This weekend, MotoAmerica will give action-starved motorcycling fans their first top-level race action since the Qatar Moto2/Moto3 grand prix, with the other major national Superbike series in Britain and Japan remaining on hold along with MotoGP and World Superbike.
At Road America, defending champion Cameron Beaubier, Toni Elias, Jake Gagne and Josh Herrin will be the biggest names in action.
Yamaha rider Beaubier beat Elias to last year’s title by just five points after taking a double win in the Barber finale, picking up his fourth crown in five seasons to draw level with Josh Hayes. Only Mat Mladin, with seven titles, has more.
Beaubier goes into the new campaign with a new teammate in the form of Gagne. Incidentally, Gagne, who endured a miserable WSBK campaign in 2018 with Honda, replaces Garrett Gerloff, who is now part of the GRT Yamaha team in WSBK.
Attack Performance has also taken over the running of the Monster Energy-sponsored Yamaha team, while Suzuki has also made a change, entrusting its 2020 effort to Team Hammer.
Ex-MotoGP star and 2017 MotoAmerica champion Elias has made the switch from Yoshimura to the new outfit, and is joined by reigning MotoAmerica Supersport champion Bobby Fong in 2020. The Spaniard’s teammate from last year, sometime Moto2 rider Herrin, meanwhile has taken over Gagne’s place at the Schiebe Racing BMW squad.
As well as the flagship Superbike class, MotoAmerica’s four support classes – Supersport, the Junior Cup, Stock 1000 and Twins Cup – will also be in action at Road America.
US fans will be able to follow the action with Fox Sports or on the championship’s own MotoAmerica Live+ streaming service, while those in the UK or France will be able to take advantage of the series’ recently-struck deal to show the Superbike races on Eurosport.
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