On Tuesday MotoGP promoters Dorna Sports announced it had set up an Esports race to be staged on the MotoGP 19 video game this coming Sunday in lieu of real world racing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The event was to feature a number of star names including reigning world champion Marc Marquez and Yamaha rider Rossi.

However, Dorna said on Wednesday that Rossi will no longer take part in the series in a press release outlining the line-up of real world riders taking part in the event.

No reason has been given for Rossi’s withdrawal, with Dorna stating: “Despite earlier confirmation of participation, #46 Valentino Rossi (Monster Energy Yamaha Racing) will not feature.”

Dorna has announced 10 real-world MotoGP riders will take part in a six-lap race around the Italian Grand Prix venue Mugello, with a five-minute qualifying time attack taking place prior to the race.

The current factory Honda line-up of Marquez and reigning Moto2 champion brother Alex will go up against the virtual works Yamaha of Maverick Vinales and Aprilia’s Aleix Espargaro.

Both factory Suzuki riders – Alex Rins and Joan Mir – will also line-up on the virtual Mugello grid, as will 2019 rookie sensation Fabio Quartararo on the Petronas SRT Yamaha.

Tech3 KTM duo Iker Lecuona and Miguel Oliveira and Pramac Ducati’s Francesco Bagnaia complete the 11-rider field for the very first all-star MotoGP Esports race.

No players from MotoGP’s official Esports series will take part.

Dorna said the event will be broadcast in full on Sunday 29 March at 3pm (GMT+2) on motogp.com, as well as on selected TV broadcasters across the globe – including Britain’s broadcast home for MotoGP BT Sports.

The press release states the “the riders will each be playing via a private ‘Race Direction’ lobby, set up to invite each rider to the event – and send them the bike settings.”

It is unclear if this will be a one-off event or a regular series.

Last week, Formula 1 confirmed it would be running its own Virtual Grand Prix series on each of the so-far eight coronavirus-postponed race weekends, while Motorsport Games and Veloce co-produced the #NottheBahGP.

The 2020 MotoGP season is currently on hiatus until May’s Spanish Grand Prix – though it is widely expected that the Jerez race, and the following French and Italian GPs will join the Thailand, Austin and Argentine races in being postponed.

The Qatar GP, which was due to be the season-opener, has been cancelled.

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