Phillip Island and the entire state of Victoria just went into lockdown.
Ever since the coronavirus pandemic first threw everything into upheaval, expectations for racing series around the world have been measured, at best. From creative solutions like virtual MotoGP rounds in 2020 to postponements and/or cancellations until the situation was under better control, every tier of racing has organizers who have been scrambling behind the scenes to do what they can.
Take the 2021 Australian Superbike championship, with a schedule that was initially comprised of seven rounds. Round 1, the Australian All Wheels Race Fest, was originally scheduled to kick the season off at Phillip Island between February 19 and 21, 2021.
Unfortunately, due to a new COVID lockdown in the state of Victoria, where Philip Island is located, the ASBK opener is now officially postponed. Although organizers hoped the lockdown would only affect metropolitan Melbourne, it was instead declared throughout the state. This round of lockdown time runs from midnight on February 12 through midnight on February 17, although there’s always the possibility of an extension.
This isn’t terribly surprising. As World Superbike fans are likely already aware, the season opener of that series is usually also held in February each year at Phillip Island. Back in November, 2020, organizers already announced that the Phillip Island WSBK round would also be postponed in 2021.
As the season currently stands, the Dutch round at Assen will kick off the MotoGP season from April 23 through 25. Phillip Island has been moved to Round 12, with exact details “to be determined.” Round 12 isn’t scheduled to take place until after November 12 through 14, when MotoGP touches down in Indonesia.
What about MotoGP? As things currently stand, the world’s premiere motorcycle racing series is currently scheduled to visit Phillip Island from October 22 through 24. There’s a lot of time between now and then, and a whole lot of moving parts up in the air. It’s too early to predict whether this race will go on as scheduled, or if it will also require postponement or cancellation. However, it’s a distinctly more likely possibility to go ahead as scheduled, since it’s already on the calendar so much later in the year.