Further, the motorcycle governing body will cancel any events in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and try to relocate them to other countries.

These decisions were taken in an extraordinary meeting by the FIM on the eve of the MotoGP season opener in Qatar and follows Russia’s invasion of neighbouring country Ukraine, formerly a part of the USSR, for which it has received worldwide condemnation.

The FIM said it took into consideration the recommendations of the Olympic Committee and condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prompting it to take immediate effect.

It added that the following measures will remain in force until further notice

- To suspend, for the Motorcycle Federation of Russia (MFR) and the Belarusian Federation of Motorcycle Sport (BFMS), the issuance of FIM licences and the FIM licences already distributed. To suspend the functions of persons from MFR and BFMS acting as FIM Officials and as Commissions members/experts/agents of the FIM. As a result, no Russian and Belarusian riders, teams and officials can take part in any FIM Events and activities.

- To suspend the registration of and to cancel all FIM Events such as FIM International Meetings, FIM World Championships and FIM Prize Events taking place in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine and, if applicable, to relocate these FIM Events to another country.

- To interrupt any other FIM activities including but not limited to seminars, commissions meetings, training camps taking place in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

The Igora Drive track near St Petersburg in Russia was a reserve circuit for MotoGP last year, but Saturday’s announcement effectively confirms that it won’t keep the same role in 2022.

“We stand in sympathy and solidarity with all those suffering, as a result of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, and remain in close contact with our affiliate member in Ukraine (FMU)," said FIM president Jorge Viegas.

"I would like to thank the FIM Board of Directors members in deciding these measures in the interests of sport and peace. The FIM, together with its promoters and organisers, already acted on this matter and cancelled the FIM competitions scheduled in Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.

"The decisions announced today are in line with the recommendations and statements made by the International Olympic Committee, adapted to suit our sport. The FIM family is watching the developments in Ukraine with great sadness and hope for a prompt and peaceful resolution.”

The FIM’s strong stance against Russian license holders contrasts strongly with that of the FIA, the governing body for four-wheel motorsport, which recently allowed all Russian and Belarusian drivers to continue to race provided they switched to a neutral license and followed certain guidelines. 

However, several national motorsport bodies, including the Motorsport UK in Britain and the DMSB in Germany, have elected to outlaw Russian and Belarusian drivers, teams and officials from competing in four-wheel championships on their home ground.

Earlier this week, Honda MotoGP star Marc Marquez said that the support sporting championships and leagues around the world were offering to people in Ukraine was not enough as “there are people much more important than us who must stop this.”