Qatar offers COVID-19 vaccinations to all in MotoGP

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(Reuters) - Qatar has offered COVID-19 vaccinations to all members of the MotoGP paddock attending pre-season testing and opening races there, the sport announced on Thursday.

MotoGP testing is under way at Doha's Losail circuit, which also hosts the first two floodlit rounds of the championship on March 28 and April 4 -- meaning teams will be there for up to five weeks.

MotoGP said in a statement that Qatar had significantly ramped-up its vaccination program.

"To ensure the health and safety of the entire tour while they are in Qatar and on their continued travels around the world this season, the Government of the State of Qatar has offered MotoGP access to COVID-19 vaccines," it added.

"All members of the Championship, including those working and travelling within the MotoGP paddock, will have the chance to be vaccinated against COVID-19."

MotoGP last month mourned the death from COVID-19 of team owner Fausto Gresini, a double 125cc world champion.

Three MotoGP riders are known to have tested positive for the virus last year -- Italian great Valentino Rossi, young Frenchman Fabio Quartararo and Spaniard Iker Lecuona.

Formula One teams have also been offered vaccinations by Bahrain, which hosts pre-season testing this weekend and the opening race on March 28.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Pritha Sarkar)