So in case you missed it, Avintia Esponsorama Racing submitted a press release singing the praises of both Dorna and IRTA for catching one of their own in the pandemic equivalent of a 15 year old trying to by beer with a fake ID.
From Avintia Esponsorama Racing we show our total conformity with all the measures taken by Dorna and Irta that, as well as our team policy and code of conduct to which all its members adhere, including mechanics, technicians, family members, sponsors, or any other person close to the team, we are obliged to take specific disciplinary measures and close all relations with our team member, who yesterday, thanks to the great work being done by Dorna and IRTA, unsuccessfully falsified a PCR test to get the access to the paddock of the Misano circuit for the next Grand Prix.
Being the team indirectly responsible for assuming all the costs derived from the exceptional measures by the COVID-19 protocols to all its workers, with this type of actions we are aware that they have wanted to obtain their own benefit putting at risk the rest of the people who make up the team and the championship. These behaviours not only damage the image of the team, but also the rest of the paddock and the championship as a whole.
We would like to clarify that it is the responsibility of each team member to enter their access and PCR test for the organisation, on an online platform for each circuit according to the guidelines that, for COVID-19 reasons, are currently in force for access to the paddock.
Avintia Esponsorama Racing would like to apologise and thank DORNA and IRTA for all the efforts made to keep everyone in the MotoGP paddock safe, allowing the championship to run properly.
Play stupid games, win stupid prizes, pandemic edition.
I have read that the guilty party has been relieved of his position at the highest level of motorcycle racing, but as of the time of my writing this nobody has been named officially.
I was able to attend the canceled, then uncancelled and rescheduled, then almost canceled again American leg of the MotoGP journey at Circuit of the Americas amidst an ongoing global pandemic.
As a journalist that took a year off due to the aforementioned pandemic, I was skeptical as to if I would be able to get into the paddock. I was aware of the restrictions that were in place earlier in the season, and after traveling to Germany for another assignment I was also aware that the rest of the world viewed America as a "High Risk Variant Country". Add in that Texas kinda does its own thing when it comes to, well, most things, I was surprised to find out that I was granted media access, including the paddock and garages. All I had to do was submit a negative PCR test, and Dorna made that, as we say in California, hella easy. They have a testing facility onsite that automatically updates your status within the MotoGP universe, or if you prefer to make things harder you can go anywhere and upload your document. I am going to have to guess that the now unemployed mechanic in question chose option B, and hired a shitty craigslist counterfeiter to help him skirt the rules. I guess we now know that Dorna/IRTA does a bit of research as to the legitimacy of the tests not handled at the track. Who would have thought that a world class organization had people on the payroll to make sure that the payroll was not sidelined?
Anyway, here is that segue that the title talked about. Yes I know the meaning of the word, and yes, I realize that this is a poor example of one. Deal with it.
While at COTA I sat down and spoke with MotoGP's resident bird expert and announcer Matt Dunn about what it was like to travel the world in the middle of the Corona Shenanigans. At the time I thought it was only going to result in a single sentence quote for another article I am in the middle of, but given the recent events I thought I would share a bit more.
M.O.M: So obviously you travel worldwide, have you noticed anything consistent about Covid outside of the MotoGP paddock? Matt: Not so much, because only recently have we been allowed actually to go out, and to be in places, to you know, eat in a restaurant. Before that it was stay in the hotel, we would have our meals looked after, so not really. Spain has opened up for quite some time with some restrictions in place, you know, like 8 people to a table max or something like that, so no consistency really. There's like countries that you put in the same group, so I would say now Italy and Spain are quite similar in their attitudes toward it, no enclosed spaces, quite a lot of mask wearing and stuff like that in supermarkets, but you go to restaurants and it's no problem, you know you sit outside and don't worry about it.
The UK is like the US now, almost as if, apart from the mask wearing there is no pandemic. Austria I couldn't tell you, we were up a mountain in Austria like in a ski resort the first week and literally two Hungarian blokes running the hotel, they were like you don't need masks here, it's just us. Then we stayed in a town in the second week and you would wear a mask until you sat down, they would ask for vaccine certificates or a negative PCR test, and then you get here and it seems like there is no pandemic at all.
Germany was quite like Austria, Spain is like Italy, and France...Ooh, France is a difficult one. So we, because of the cases at the time when we were in LeMans, we ate at the circuit there rather than the hotel, and the hotel didn't have a restaurant facility. It was safer to go there as France is very 50/50, Covid skeptic, I see it on Twitter and I read a lot of articles on it and attitudes on vaccines seem to be, at least within my little echo chamber sort of 50/50 in favor, 50/50 not. Qatar was just a complete straight bubble, hotel to the circuit by mini bus. When we were there, cases were going up at that point, I think restrictions were pretty low still and that was part of the reason why, it was in the start of this third wave that everyone had, so yeah, there are probably some groups that are quite similar, but no consistency.
M.O.M: I know for me coming in as media, I had to submit a negative PCR test within 72 hours of picking up my pass, and it is good for the whole weekend, was there ever a period of time when you were doing daily testing.
Matt: Yeah a couple of rounds we've done one to get here, and then when we get here, I think last year there were a couple like that, I can't remember which ones exactly. But the main thing is, you know we got vaccinated, I know a lot of people were getting it done in waves. We got the opportunity to get vaccinated in Qatar, and I think since then it has been lets have faith in the science, in the vaccination, and crack on, you know. But all of us have to get tested to get home, to get on the flights to wherever we call home.
It has been kinda cool to come here, to see the paddock a bit more open, it has been so restricted for quite some time, the UK, when we went to the UK, we were instructed to eat in the hotels, because the cases in the UK were sky high. But it has been slowly moving along with the case of the world opening up more. Coming into this weekend it has been, oh shit, we have been under wraps for quite some time.
M.O.M.: I have been listening to BBC1 and hearing the news blurbs I noticed how similar the updates were to California, but with next level strictness on lockdowns early on.
Matt: Yeah, back in the day it was, but now since the freedom day, the UK has just like, been whatever. I was in the pub the other day right before getting my PCR to come out here. I was wearing my mask up to the bar to order a drink, and uh, the guy serving was like are you wearing that mask so she doesn't ID you? And I was just like, no I am going on a flight and getting my PCR in the next couple days, and I said to the barmaid, does it work, people wearing masks getting served without ID? And she said, well not recently because nobody wears masks anymore. They do though, I reckon in the supermarket and things like that 50% of the people still wear masks. What it comes down to for me is, and I think everyone else here, but for me, I don't feel all that strongly about the masks, the PCRs, Covid, or the vaccine, but I'm not willing to jeopardize my income.
There is a PCR testing facility at every circuit, there is no question, you just go in and you get it for each round, if you are feeling a bit rough you get it, whatever.
At the end of the day my job requires me to test negative. I don't isolate myself when I go back home, I see my friends, I see my family, but I do make an effort to sit outside and just be cautious and courteous. I don't want to test positive and lose a big chunk of income for a week.
Or in the case of the yet-to-be-named former MotoGP crew member, an entire career.
If for some reason it was the team photographer that got canned, and there is someone that can get in contact with the team, I am for hire and work cheap. I also know where the on site testing station is and promise to use it exclusively.