Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro says there’s “no perfect solution” to truly controlling the spread of COVID-19 in the MotoGP paddock.
In the last month, the number of infections in the paddock have increased since the start of the season, with several team members testing positive for the virus and those immediately close to them forced into self-isolation as a precaution between races.
Last week Valentino Rossi tested positive for COVID-19 at his home in Italy have travelled back following the French Grand Prix, forcing him out of the Aragon double-header.
This followed Moto2 rider Jorge Martin missing the Misano double-header after catching the virus last month, while Moto3’s Tony Arbolino had to sit out the Aragon GP having been close to someone who had COVID-19 on the plane to Aragon despite the Italian testing negative himself.
This has called into question whether or not riders should be allowed to return home between races, which Espargaro did this week having been able to safely drive from Aragon to Andorra.
“It’s very difficult to understand which is the right solution,” he said of what riders should be doing between races regarding COVID-19 protocols.
“Obviously, if you have to fly on a regular flight it’s better to stay [between races] because if you have to go to the airport with many people on a plane, which is a small place with many people, the risk as we saw with Arbolino is very high.
“I feel very sorry for Arbolino because you can do everything right and it’s not in your hands, and you cannot race.
“So, the situation of Tony was very bad. But in my case, we are racing close to Andorra and I can drive three hours and be back home.
“For me, yeah, maybe the risk is a little bit higher, but I was in my home with my two kids and my wife.
“So, it’s the way I decided to handle it. I know that some people that stay between race one and two get infected with COVID here in Aragon (MotoGP is yet to confirm this).
“So, there is no perfect solution, everybody has to be super careful, clean the hands, use the masks. But it can happen to all of us.”
When asked if he was worried about his mechanics returning home to Italy between Aragon and Valencia with cases across Europe on the rise, Espargaro admits he “cannot control them” and what they do away from the circuit – but urges everyone to be cautious.
“What I learned in the last years in the championship and in life also is to be worried with things you cannot control makes no sense,” he added.
“So, I will try to do my best. I also push a lot my two friends who travel with me [to take care] because they are very close to me, so for me they are the most important people.
“The people of the garage, I cannot control them.
“We are 55 in the box, so I think everybody has to be very serious, take care.
“But it can happen. The world is getting worse and worse, everybody is getting infected.”
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