On July 19, the MotoGP World Championship starts at the Jerez circuit where they have scheduled a preliminary test for all the teams for Wednesday the 15th. But at the moment there is something that worries the Japanese teams Honda, Suzuki and Yamaha, especially a bureaucratic problem that concerns them all and that the sports director of Yamaha revealed to Speedweek, Lin Jarvis: “At the moment Japanese and Australian members cannot enter Europe even if they present a negative test for the coronavirus”,
This Sunday the President of the Spanish Government, Pedro Sánchez, in whose country seven of the 13 races scheduled for the recently published calendar will be held, has announced the reopening of the borders with the European countries of the Schengen area from June 21, coinciding with the end of the state of alarm in Spain , with the only exception of Portugal that has asked to keep the date of July 1.
However, the de-escalation of the pandemic is not occurring at the same speed worldwide and measures are still stricter in some countries than others. The opening of borders for citizens from outside the Schengen area is something that is in the hands of the European Union and for the moment it is not yet due to the work of openly allowing entry.
Since March 25, Australian citizens and permanent residents of Australia have been banned from traveling abroad, a measure that remains in effect. However, in recent days Australia has consented to the exception for reasons of professional higher cause and there they would host to have their Australian mechanics. But for now Japan does not allow the same to its citizens and who it lets out later does not allow it to enter without passing a quarantine.
In the case of Yamaha, they not only have Japanese engineers on their staff, but also Australian and New Zealand mechanics. Only an exception due to force majeure such as an employment contract would be the exit. “Yamaha’s biggest concern is related to the movements in Europe of the Australian and Japanese members. At the moment they cannot enter our continent even if they have a medical certificate confirming the negativity of Covid-19 ”, says Jarvis.
But even if they get to Europe, the problem is that they will have to stay longer than the Schengen agreement allows. for foreign citizens: they can only stay 90 days without interruption within a 180-day period, and therefore, it would be impossible for them to complete the season since for 92 days until the end of the campaign in Cheste on November 15 they would be “illegal ” And none of the three houses in question, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki, wants to link their name to an illegality.
“We will only be able to participate in the races if a solution is found. Our Japanese engineers must attend the Grand Prix because otherwise we will have difficulties running. If we obtain the exemptions from the Japanese authorities, our Japanese technicians would not be able to return to the country between races because the quarantine regulations in Japan are still in force for travelers, ”he says.
“We are looking for other solutions because even if the engineers left the Schengen area, it would not be enough to get to Valencia,” reveals Jarvis.
Dorna has asked all teams to reduce their staff During this exceptional campaign and thus the official MotoGP teams may have a maximum of 45 members (Japanese teams usually displace between 50 and 60 people), but at Yamaha they do not want to give up their Japanese engineers. The same goes for Honda and Suzuki.
The problem would not affect Japanese or Australian pilots because most of them usually already legally reside a good part of the year in Spain, Andorra or Italy.