LONDON (Reuters) – Former MotoGP world champion Jorge Lorenzo will not have a chance to race this season after series organisers ruled out wild card entries due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The season has yet to start for motorcycling’s top category but there are hopes of opening with two races on successive weekends in July without spectators at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain.

Organisers expect around 1,600 people at such races, with manufacturer teams limited to 40 while independent MotoGP outfits must manage with 25. Those in Moto2, one rung down, would be allowed 20 and Moto3 a maximum of 15.

“The likelihood of any events in 2020 needing to be held behind closed doors means that it is necessary to keep participant numbers to the absolute minimum,” MotoGP said in a statement on Friday.

“It is also important to allow optimum utilisation of pit box space by the contracted teams. The Commission have therefore decided that wild card entries, in all classes, will be suspended for the 2020 season.”

Yamaha had planned for retired triple MotoGP champion Lorenzo to race as a wild card at his home Catalan Grand Prix in June, but that race is one of several to have been postponed.

Lorenzo, 33, signed as a Yamaha factory test rider in January.

Wild cards are used to give race experience to young prospects as well as for established test riders in their home races.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Giles Elgood)

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