The MotoGP season opener in Qatar has been cancelled ©Getty Images

The International Motorcycling Federation (FIM) has cancelled its opening MotoGP event of the season in Qatar and postponed competition in Thailand due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The Qatar Grand Prix had been due to open the new MotoGP season on March 8.

Organisers say travel restrictions in Qatar affecting passengers from Italy and other countries impacted be the outbreak have led to the event being cancelled.

With Moto2 and Moto3 riders already in Qatar, organisers announced their events will take place as planned.

“All passengers arriving at Doha on direct flights from Italy, or having been in Italy in the past two weeks, will be taken straight to quarantine for a minimum of 14 days,” the FIM said.

“Italy clearly plays a vital role in the Championship and in the MotoGP class - both on track and off - and therefore the decision has been taken to cancel premier class competition.

“As the teams and riders of the Moto2 and Moto3 classes were already in Qatar for the three-day official test at Losail International Circuit earlier this week, the races of both categories will be possible.

“The lightweight and intermediate classes will therefore compete in their season opener from the 6th to 8th March.

“The same will apply to the Idemitsu Asia Talent Cup, which will have two races during the Qatar Grand Prix as originally planned.”

MotoGP riders will have to wait a further month for their season to begin ©Getty Images
MotoGP riders will have to wait a further month for their season to begin ©Getty Images

A further statement from MotoGP organisers confirmed the Thai Government has said it will be unable to hold the Thailand Grand Prix on its original date of March 22.

The event has now been postponed, with organisers evaluating whether an alternative date for the event may be possible later in the season.

The disruption to the MotoGP season has pushed the start back a month, with the opening event now set to be the Grand Prix of The Americas in the United States.

The competition is expected to be held in Austin on April 5.

More than 90,000 coronavirus cases have been confirmed worldwide, with 3,084 deaths recorded.

However, more than half of those infected have reportedly recovered.

Numerous sporting events have been either postponed or cancelled due to the outbreak.