After Honda’s threats to leave MotoGP if a standard spec ECU is imposed in 2014 - discussions between Dorna and the MSMA that were to continue during the past weekend at Motegi round seemed to have reached an impasse, with HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto introducing a new position on who still actually decides the technical rules, and it looks like Carmelo Ezpeleta’s big stick that he supposedly held over the manufacturers after he gained control of the rule making book in both MotoGP and World Superbikes, has been turned into a harmless twig.
In an interview with solomoto.es the Japanese manager touched a few topics, ranging from the ECU, to Dani Pedrosa and Casey Stoner, and upcoming Repsol Honda rider Marc Marquez - who Nakamoto wants on the podium from the first race of the season.
Here are some of the highlights from the interview:
“The standard ECU will not be imposed. Dorna must discuss all technical rules with MSMA before a decision is made. We have a five year contract with Dorna (2012-2016) and it has detailed clauses. With this contract, Dorna cannot do anything unless we agree”.
“I am against the idea of standard ECU because it will not reduce costs, which is Dorna’s primary target. Using a different ECU is like switching to Mackintosh while you’ve been using Windows for many years. You have to change everything. Much of the data will be transferred automatically but then we have to check everything to see whether it’s correct or not, and this takes up lot of time and manpower and will not lead to the cost reduction”.
Regarding Honda’s production production racer: “At the moment the idea has been suspended. Carmelo wants us to build them but we need approval from Honda’s management. We can manage to build them for 2014 if we get an okay. ”
Pedrosa’s title chances: “As Dani says, it will be one race at a time. Anything can happen in racing and I don’t think Jorge is confident of winning the title. Casey is still not in perfect shape but he will be very strong in Phillip Island. And we don’t give team orders, Dani must beat Casey and at the moment, Dani is very strong and focused. I hope one of the Honda riders would win each of the three remaining races”.
And on Marc Marquez: “At the moment, Dani, Casey and Jorge are on the different planet. Next year there will be space on the podium because Casey will retire. We expect Marquez to fill this space. I don’t expect him to win the first race of 2013, but I do expect him to be on the podium in Qatar”.
After Bridgepoint’s announcement last week that World Superbikes would be run Dorna’s umbrella, and after’s Paolo Flammini’s press conference at Magny-Cours where he fundamentally said that the two championships will remain separate, thus allaying certain fears but he also said it was up to Dorna to discuss how the two championship will be run.
Carmelo Ezpeleta finally spoke to the media today at Motegi to explain the situation and he touched several points - above all confirming that the championships will continue to have separate identities, but also explained why the two direct motorcycling championship rivals are now being run by Dorna - the two squabbled over technical rules earlier this year unable to come to an understanding, so Bridgepoint not so suprisingly stepped in and gave the Spanish company carte blanche over the series.
The CEO also confirmed that the recent move will no effect on the 2013 World Superbike Championship, but there will be some changes in 2014 in both series when they decide on how to ‘reduce costs and increase the show’.
Spec ECU’s and rev limits were also discussed, especially after HRC’s Shuhei Nakamoto threatened to leave the series if they are introduced, but Ezpeleta squirmed out of the question and revealing almost nothing only that they will continue to talk with the MSMA.
Transcript of the press conference after the jump.
When MotoGP’s 2013 provisional calendar was released Jerez de la Frontera circuit that was scheduled for May 5th was still subject to contract renewal (they’ve been having financial difficulties and were 45 million euros in debt in 2011), but according to Spanish website motoworld.es the deal has finally been approved, thanks to the Andalucian regional government.
Like for the Motorland Aragon circuit, Dorna has decided to help this second Spanish venue to continue hosting the popular Gran Premio de Espana by lower their sanctioning fees - from 4.5 million euros to 2.7 million euros (plus VAT which was raised on the 1st of September to 21%) which allowed the regional government to pay for the fee, despite being the fourth region in Spain who asked Madrid for a bailout last month and also has the highest unemployment rate (33%) in the entire country.
With Jerez and the Texas GP confirmed, only the Argentina GP remains highly doubtful. According to a very interesting interview that appeared in this week’s Cycle News with Dorna’s CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, the South American race will be confirmed only if the Spanish Government decides that Argentina will be safe for all Repsol personnel following the nationalization of Repsol’s YPF subsidary, but the final decision will be made by the latest in mid December.
Jerez will also be hosting the final round of the 2013 World Superbike championship.
The special SuperSic Honda CBR1000RR designed by Aldo Drudi that was donated by HRC to the Marco Simoncelli Foundation was auctioned on e-Bay during this last week to help raise funds to build a day care center in Coriano for disabled children.
The Fireblade fetched the remarkable sum of 50,110 euros, and what’s even more remarkable is that the highest bidder turned out to be Dorna’s CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta
Ezpeleta advised Paolo and Rosella Simoncelli that he has decided to support the Foundation even further and will be giving the charity 58,000 euros instead of the final bid as a symbolic gesture.
“A further demonstration of esteem and affection from the world that Marco was part of that leaves us deeply moved. Our heartfelt thanks for a gesture that will remain in our hearts,” said the Simoncelli family.
The bike will be officially delivered to Ezpeleta by Simoncelli’s parents during the EICMA show in Milan next November.
Source | altarimini.it
Despite the horrible economy in Spain - they’re in a recession with unemployment at almost 25%, and the regions of Valencia, Catalonia (and others) all heavily indebited due to the consequences of liquidity restrictions as a result of the economic crisis, and all have asked the central government in Madrid for a bailout - it looks like Dorna will still be going ahead with four Spanish Grand Prix races in 2013.
CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta earlier this year spoke about cutting back the number of races to be hosted on the Iberian peninsula (Jerez, Aragon, Catalunya and Valencia and Estoril in Portugal) and open up to other countries, but in an interview at the Valencia circuit (which is getting an asphalt makeover, and adding other runoff areas for a cost of €1 million - paid for by the local government) the Spanish manager confirmed that Valencia will stay on the calendar until 2016 and that they have renegotiated, reduced and unified the sanctioning fees for all four Spanish venues (around €4 million).
With the chances of Texas GP round getting further and further away after Kevin Schwantz announced that he is suing the Circuit of Americas (COTA), and the Argentina GP that could be still be cancelled if Repsol decides to take the hard line and refuse to go to the South American country after the Argentinean government seized and nationalized their oil and gas company subsidiary YPF last April, it looks like Dorna has its 2013 calendar covered in any case.
A provisional calendar is expected to be issued during next weekend’s Misano GP.
Source | motocuatro.com
During today’s pre-event press conference at Assen, Valentino Rossi responded to Carmelo Ezpeleta’s startling statement to Omnicorse.it that “Valentino next year will be on competitive bike, but I can’t tell you which. It’s too early to talk about it, but in 2013 we’ll see Rossi fighting again for wins … “
Rossi repeated again (he more or less said the same thing during this weekend’s World Ducati Week) that his first choice is to stay with Ducati “I hope I can race next year with a competitive bike. The first choice is to stay and be competitive with Ducati, and try to improve the bike and get some good results in the next years with Ducati.”
Asked about what Ezpeleta said, he responded with “that’s his idea or he knows more than I do. I haven’t talked to Yamaha or Honda and I don’t know if they have a bike available for me.”
Silly season rumors have so far Rossi tied to a Repsol Honda dream team with Marc Marquez -with a pre-contract already signed by the Italian-, back with former team mate Jorge Lorenzo in Yamaha, his own private team with high profile sponsor or even in a satellite team with factory treatment, and Ducati is not making any overtures except towards Cal Crutchlow and Pol Espargaro and that’s not even clear if one of the two will replace Rossi or Nicky Hayden.
Dorna’s CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta was at Valencia last Sunday to take in the European Grand Prix Formula 1 race (won by Fernando Alonso) and Italian website Omnicorse.it got a chance to talk to the Spanish manager.
Valentino Rossi on the Ducati is a marriage that isn’t working, can Dorna afford to have a World Champion that doesn’t win. And do you believe that ‘The Doctor’ can still win?
“I’m calm. Valentino next year will be on competitive bike, but I can’t tell you which. It’s too early to talk about it, but in 2013 we’ll see Rossi fighting again for wins … “ (Italy’s Sportmediaset is speculating that Rossi has a pre-contract with Honda and that Repsol wants the Italian to form a ‘dream team’ with Marc Marquez - a sort of master and apprentice thingy - even if Honda doesn’t want Rossi back).
Ezpeleta also talked about other subjects like the new cost cutting rule proposals, how the CRsT which are hated by the MSMA, but have filled the dwindling grid number, have now Honda working on a low cost ‘production racer’ to sell and not lease to satellite teams in 2014, a step he believe was made possible because of the presence of the CRT bikes.
The Spanish manager also admitted that other manufacturers are waiting at the doorstep and he is in talks with BMW, Aprilia and Suzuki. (All who want stable rules before making any commitment to MotoGP, we might add).
To read the entire interview just click here.
Following Argentina’s nationalization of the oil and gas company subsidiary YPF which is 57% owned by Repsol Spain, many racing fans were left wondering what would now happen to the three year deal that Dorna and the Argentinean government signed last December to host MotoGP at the Termas de Río Hondo circuit in the province of Santiago del Estero in 2013.
Everyone knows that Repsol sponsors the Honda MotoGP factory team, with two of the three aliens, and also supports rising stars like Marc Marquez in Moto2, Maverick Viñales, Miguel Oliveira, Álex Rins in Moto3 and several riders in the CEV Buckler series, so they carry some very big clout with Dorna who has its headquarters in Madrid and CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta is also a Spanish citizen.
Spain in currently on the warpath against Argentina and the government has said that they will “take the necessary measures” to deal with the YPF issue and is “already working in order to obtain the collaboration of the Unites States, and friend-governments within the European Union, and G-20,” and is thinking of sanctions and retaliatory measures against the South American country with the EU Parliment having approved a resolution urging the European Commission to remove trade concessions on Argentine exports.
In an interview with Catalunya Radio, Carmelo Ezpeleta was asked his opinion on the current crisis and what he intends do regarding the Argentine GP, “If Repsol says something I’ll consider it, but I doubt they will tell me that we can’t go to Argentina.” adding “We have a firm contract with Argentina, but all contracts are subject to higher political circumstances. We’re not going to do a Grand Prix if everyone doesn’t agree on it, but we won’t be going to a country that has a problem with one of the sponsors” who also believes that since the GP is next year, that there is “still time to see how things are resolved” .
This situation is going to be more difficult to solve than last year’s controversial Motegi round, and is anyone already betting that we will be back to four races on the Iberian pennisula next season?
Source | terra.es
While MotoGP is popular across Europe, many consider it to be too Eurocentric as twelve of the eighteen races on the calendar are hosted on the old continent, but this will be changing in the near future as the economic crunch and Eurozone debt crisis worsens.
Dorna wants MotoGP to have a greater appeal across the world and other nations are vying to host a race. Argentina is already scheduled in 2013, while India also wants to be on the calendar with negotiations currently ongoing and Carmelo Ezpeleta having visited the Buddh International Circuit last month. Jorge Lorenzo during his PR tour last week also said that India is ‘ready’.
According to MCN.com South Korea also wants to host a race and Dorna representatives visited the Korea International Circuit last week, with countries like Chile and Brazil also showing interest.
It may be just a coincidence that Dorna’s CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta during his press conference at the Wrooom event mentioned that in the near future there will no longer be four Grand Prix events held in Spain, and the Catalan and Valencian governments are currently talking about the financial feasibility of hosting both MotoGP and Formula 1.
Spain is one of the countries in Europe who is cutting back big on public spending and The Minister of Economy and Knowledge of the Generalitat of Catalonia Andreu Mas-Colell, went on the record stating that hosting both Formula 1 and Motogp due to the difficult economic situtation that the region is currently facing has to be reconsidered.
“It’s the first thing that we rethinking, but due to the situation we have to look line by line where we are spending money,” said the Minister, who also admitted that “there are contracts that are more expensive to maintain than break.”
Even the Valencia region is discussing the idea of dropping F1 or MotoGP as they too help subsidize the races. Spanish fans are rabid about motorsports and flock to the races and know that hosting these events brings a lot of revenue to the local economy, but they may find themselves limited to one or maybe two races in 2013 as other countries want to get on the calendar.
Source | motopasionmoto.com