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Phillip Island date shift targeted for 2021 MotoGP season

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Phillip Island date shift targeted for 2021 MotoGP season
By:
Co-author: Andrew van Leeuwen
Nov 5, 2019, 8:02 AM

Phillip Island could move to the front end of the 2021 MotoGP calendar, with series organiser Dorna pushing for a date change in a bid for better weather.

A run of cold, windy spring conditions during recent AGP weekends has seen the October date increasingly fall out of favour in the MotoGP paddock, with riders leading calls to change the date year after year. 

Last month's Phillip Island race was particularly weather-affected, with qualifying postponed until Sunday morning after severe winds knocked Miguel Oliveira off his KTM during Free Practice 4.

While a shift to the start of the season has long been Dorna's preference the idea has met resistance form the Australian Grand Prix Corporation, which would prefer to avoid two high-profile events – the Albert Park Formula 1 race and the Phillip Island MotoGP round – running within weeks of each other.

However, it appears Dorna will make a fresh push to get the change across the line, the late October date set to stay for 2020 before a potential move to March or April in 2021.

"We are assessing the possibility of bringing it forward in 2021," Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta told Motorsport.com"It's a possibility, although it is not yet confirmed."

An AGPC spokesperson told Motorsport.com that there has been no formal approach about a 2021 change: "We've heard nothing at all along those lines, and with the 2020 calendar already confirmed, we're looking forward to delivering another great event next October."

Should the change go ahead, it would be a popular outcome for a rider group that was losing hope that it would ever happen.

"Every year we talk about the same thing because we, the riders, offer our opinion on what would be better from a sporting point of view," said Andrea Dovizioso

"We can be lucky and get a sunny day [in October], but most of the time it's bad. The problem is that we don't have the power to push hard enough for a change."

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Series MotoGP
Author Oriol Puigdemont