April 7 (Reuters) - The MotoGP season will not begin until mid-June after the Italian and Catalan races were postponed on Tuesday due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The decision brings the number of postponed races to seven, while the March 8 first round in Qatar was cancelled.
Italy and Spain, where a majority of the riders and teams come from, are the two European countries worst affected by the virus, with more than 16,000 deaths in Italy and 13,000 in Spain.
"The FIM, IRTA and Dorna Sports regret to announce the postponement of the Gran Premio d'Italia Oakley (May 31) and Gran Premi Monster Energy de Catalunya (June 7)," MotoGP said in a statement.
"The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has obliged the two events to be rescheduled.
"As the situation remains in a state of constant evolution, new dates for these GPs as well as the recently postponed French and Spanish GPs, cannot be confirmed until it becomes clearer when exactly it will be possible to hold the events."
MotoGP added that a revised calendar will be published "as soon as available."
The German Grand Prix on June 21 is the next scheduled race in the calendar.
(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Hugh Lawson)
The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.