Japanese Grand Prix cancelled due to coronavirus

By Sports Desk August 18, 2021

The 2021 Japanese Grand Prix has been cancelled due to "ongoing complexities" related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Race organisers on Wednesday announced that the event at the Suzuka circuit will not take place for a second successive year.

The COVID-19 crisis pandemic prevented the 2020 from being staged and a race due to be staged on October 10 has also been called off.

A statement from Formula One said: "Following ongoing discussions with the promoter and authorities in Japan the decision has been taken by the Japanese government to cancel the race this season due to ongoing complexities of the pandemic in the country.

"Formula One is now working on the details of the revised calendar and will announce the final details in the coming weeks.

"Formula One has proven this year, and in 2020, that we can adapt and find solutions to the ongoing uncertainties and is excited by the level of interest in locations to host Formula One events this year and beyond."

The F1 season resumes with the Belgium Grand Prix on August 29, with Lewis Hamilton holding an eight-point lead over Max Verstappen at the top of the driver standings.

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    Fabio Quartararo is "living the dream" after becoming the first Frenchman to win the MotoGP title following an eventful Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.

    The 22-year-old, who is competing in just his third season, was crowned 2021 world champion after closest challenger Francesco Bagnaia crashed out of Sunday's race.

    Bagnaia started from pole and was leading with five laps to go, only to come off his bike and effectively end his chances of catching Quartararo in the drivers' standings with two grands prix remaining.

    Yamaha rider Quartararo still had to see out the race to pick up the three points needed to seal top spot and did that with a fourth-placed finish in Italy.

    Quartararo's triumph, which ends Yamaha's six-year wait for a title, was achieved the hard way as he started the race in 15th after his worst ever qualifying session on Saturday.

    He gradually made his way through the field after a slow start that saw him drop two more places, yet he was still fifth when Bagnaia crashed.

    The Frenchman said on the eve of the race he expected the title battle to continue into the Grande Premio do Algarve next month and he felt the pressure at the start line.

    "It was tough for me because I made a really bad start and I never experienced a MotoGP start at that far back," he said. 

    "I think our front tyre pressure goes so much up [in a pack]. When I braked, I had a lot of moments almost crashing, so to be close to the podium was amazing.

    "It was a new experience, and also with the pressure of the championship I was feeling really bad this morning.

    "Let's say I had pain in the belly, it is the first time that I found it difficult to eat before the race, so it was a big day and we managed to be world champion.

    "After this I think the weight of trying to be world champion, from now, will totally lose the pressure and I can enjoy the two last races."

    Bagnaia had just stretched away from eventual race winner Marc Marquez when he crashed and cut a desolate figure at the end of the race.

    The Italian, who was one of the first to congratulate Quartararo, denied losing focus with the winning line in sight and also backed the call to use hard front tyres.

    That was a decision that also cost Ducati team-mate Jack Miller, who crashed early on at the same corner as Bagnaia.

    "Medium for me was worse than soft; soft was already on the limit yesterday and this morning, so the hard was the correct choice," Bagnaia said.

    "The only thing is with the hard you just need to push every single lap like hell, to let the tyre be hot.

    "As for the crash, that was not because I lost concentration. I was pushing – it was winning or gravel, and I tried all to achieve this win.

    "I'm happy about my performance. Of course I'm a bit frustrated about the result because I think we were deserving of more.

    "But we just try to be always more competitive, and for next year we are for sure in a good way."

  • Quartararo crowned world champion after dramatic Bagnaia crash Quartararo crowned world champion after dramatic Bagnaia crash

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    Yamaha rider Quartararo had to outscore Bagnaia by three points in Sunday's race to bring an end to the title battle with two races to go, but a career-worst finish of 15th in qualifying meant the Frenchman had plenty of work to do.

    The 22-year-old gradually climbed the field after a slow start that saw him drop two more places, yet he was still fifth, well off leader Bagnaia, with five laps to go in Italy.

    Then came an incredible moment as Bagnaia, on course for a third victory in four races, lost the front of the Desmosedici into turn 15 to effectively hand Quartararo the title – and a first for Yamaha since 2015.

    Quartararo continued his ascent into third place before dropping behind Enea Bastianini into his eventual final position of fourth, with Marc Marquez and Pol Espargaro leading a one-two for Repsol Honda.

    It is a second successive triumph for Marquez on the back of his victory at the Grand Prix of the Americas.

    Bagnaia's Ducati team-mate Jack Miller, who started in second, had earlier crashed out in a drama-filled race, while Valentino Rossi battled to 10th in his final race on home soil.

  • Rummenigge expects 'very responsible' Kimmich to take COVID-19 vaccine soon Rummenigge expects 'very responsible' Kimmich to take COVID-19 vaccine soon

    Karl-Heinz Rummenigge expects "very responsible" Bayern Munich midfielder Joshua Kimmich to show he is a role model by taking the coronavirus vaccine.

    Germany midfielder Kimmich stated that he wants to wait for further research to be conducted before he is jabbed.

    The 26-year-old and his Bayern team-mate Leon Goretzka started a 'We Kick Corona' initiative last year to help those affected by COVID-19.

    Former Bayern president Rummenigge says Kimmich should not be criticised for wanting to know if there may be any long-term effects of being vaccinated but believes he should take the jab and will in the near future.

    The Germany great told Bild Live: "First of all, I would like to say to Kimmich that he may be the Bundesliga player who has a role model function in many ways. 

    "I know him as a great person, as his 'We kick Corona' initiative shows. Of course, it came as a surprise that he wasn't vaccinated. That has now led to a discussion. 

    "In February of this year, I suggested that it would be wise to vaccinate footballers early – as an example for everyone else. 

    "I've been horribly criticised. Now it has turned a little. What Joshua does is very responsible. He would like to wait for things like the long-term effects for himself and he is tested every other day. As a role model, it would still be better if he were vaccinated.

    "I am convinced that he may be vaccinated soon. He is a totally responsible person and player. We can be very happy that he is part of these two teams in our country."

    Rummenigge does not believe players should be left with no choice.

    He added: "The compulsory vaccination does not lie with football, but with politics. Due to the fact that one or the other is not vaccinated in Bavaria, we now have a discussion. But that shouldn't be introduced through football."

    Head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who is fully vaccinated, was absent for the Bundesliga champions' 4-0 hammerings of Benfica and Hoffenheim this week after testing positive for COVID-19.

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