OXFORDSHIRE’S sportsmen and women are beginning to be disrupted by the spread of coronavirus.

The disease has reached more than 60 countries and caused dozens of sporting events across the world to be cancelled.

MotoGP has scrapped its first two races of the season, in Qatar on Sunday and Thailand two weeks later, where Bradley Smith was on stand-by to compete, depending on the outcome of Aprilia teammate Andrea Iannone’s doping case.

The 29-year-old test rider was due to fly to the Middle East on Tuesday and believes cancelling both races was the right call.

Smith, from Forest Hill, said: “It’s always disappointing when a race doesn’t go ahead.

“It’s our job, but we also do it for entertainment and you have to look at the bigger picture.

“You have to make sure people are fit and healthy in the long term.”

Aprilia are one of several MotoGP teams based in Italy, the European country hit hardest by the outbreak.

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All passengers arriving in Doha on flights from Italy or having been in the country for the past two weeks are currently being taken to quarantine for at least 14 days.

Smith revealed some of his engineers had been wearing face masks and gloves, or even self-quarantining.

He said: “Pretty much all my team are from northern Italy. They have been taking the utmost precautions.

“I’m happy to race, but it’s not my call to put one of my mechanics in quarantine.”

Smith, who also races for ONE Energy Racing in the MotoE World Cup, is still unsure whether the outbreak will jeopardise the series’ pre-season testing in Spain next week.

He said: “Things are getting worse and flights around Europe are being cancelled, so we just have to play it day-by-day.

“Hopefully it goes ahead and we don’t have any mishaps.”

Coronavirus has hit motorsport hard, with this month’s Formula E and Jaguar I-Pace eTrophy races in China postponed.

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Chipping Norton’s Alice Powell competes in the latter and the 27-year-old hopes restrictions are relaxed before the start of the W Series in May, where she came third in 2019.

She said: “There’s a bit of time until the W Series starts. They’re looking at it and considering the options so we’ll just wait and see.”

Abingdon golfer Eddie Pepperell is another keeping a close eye on developments as he tees off at the Qatar Masters at 4.15am (GMT) today.

The Ladies Open in nearby Abu Dhabi, due to start tomorrow, has already been called off.

The Frilford Heath member withdrew from last week’s Oman Open over coronavirus fears and joked he was ‘struggling to justify’ competing in Qatar.

Meanwhile, Oxford City athlete Alice Hopkins said in January that it was ‘sensible’ to postpone the World Athletics Indoor Championships, due to take place in Nanjing, China, from March 13 to 15.

The event was one of the first on the planet impacted by the outbreak when organisers pushed it back 12 months.

Closer to home, Oxford United say they are closely monitoring the situation, but other than discouraging handshakes at the training ground it is business as usual.

There is currently no suggestion of games in this country being postponed or played behind closed doors.

However, the EFL is providing guidance to clubs, with the U’s asking match-going fans to follow Public Health England recommendations.