Today’s COVID-19 news …

After much teasing, the Yamaha parallel twin adventure bike will debut this show season.

You know how they always do the storm report here in Canada, where they announce what businesses are closed due to snow? Well, it’s getting to that point with the coronavirus closures. We don’t have any moto-industry closures to report yet here in the Great White North, but we do have another load of doom and gloom from outside the country, starting with …

Yamaha shuts down European manufacturing

This isn’t something that will affect many Canadians, but it will most definitely affect European riders. Yesterday, Yamaha announced it was shutting down its French and Italian factories, to help fight COVID-19. These closures include the Motori Minarelli engine factory in Italy and the MBK Industrie plant in France, and they will affect other manufacturers as well.

In Yamaha’s statement, the big boss of the Euro operations said “For their peace of mind, we are working to ensure that no employee will lose out financially between now and the return to a stable situation both in Italy and France,” which is good news, because we’ve heard of some belt-tightening in the situation with other manufacturers.

While most Euro-made Yammies don’t make it to North America, the intricacies of the globalized motorcycle industry mean this could have some trickle-down effect here, but don’t expect it to be toooooo noticeable.

The Circuit of the Americas outside Austin, Texas, is now closed.

American tracks are shutting down

Good thing the MotoGP brain trust cancelled the upcoming Austin races — they’d get to the track next month and see tumbleweeds blowing around the infield. The track itself is now shut down.

Most of the track’s staff has been laid off, in the wake of a ban on large-scale public events (there’s lots of other stuff going on at COTA usually — concerts, sports, etc.). But thanks to Austin’s declaration of a local disaster, that stuff is cancelled, so the stadium and track are shutting down. The staff has mostly been laid off, with no real timeline as to when everything will be back online. For now, the MotoGP race that’s rescheduled for November 15 is still on, though.

Elsewhere in the US, Virginia International Raceway has also shut down, along with New Jersey Motorsports Park, at least temporarily. No doubt there’ll be more, similar news ahead.

Charlotte, Atlanta flat track postponed

American Flat Track has postponed its upcoming races in Atlanta (March 28) and Charlotte (April 4). Ticket sales for the upcoming Texas and So-Cal events have also been called off. The Atlanta and Charlotte races haven’t had replacement dates announced yet.

North West 200 cancelled

It’s been predicted for a week or so, and was confirmed this morning. The North West 200 street circuit races have been cancelled. It’s no wonder, as the Isle of Man TT was cancelled yesterday, and all the upcoming MotoGP, World Superbike, Supercross, and other major races have been called off. Stay tuned, there’s more of this coming.


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