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Dorna Sports CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta faces the most complicated challenge since becoming the head of Dorna. In an interview with Spanish newspaper La Razon, the figurehead of MotoGP™ answers the questions that are at the forefront of everyone’s minds…
What is the current situation?
“I talk daily with the factories and teams, mostly those in MotoGP, to see how everyone’s doing. We’re not worried about the economic health of the teams and we’re working to help them survive these next three months.”
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To avoid furloughing staff…
“We’re trying to keep everyone on. We sent a first payment from IRTA to the Moto2 and Moto3 teams and now we’re talking with those in MotoGP so they can tell us what they need and cover the paycheques.”
Is there a date in mind for when we can start the Championship?
“Unfortunately no, although I would like one. It’s the million-dollar question. We’re talking with the Grands Prix. We postponed Le Mans, we’re looking at Mugello and Catalunya, which are the next ones. We’ll not postpone anything for the sake of it, we’re looking at it race by race, like we did with Jerez. If one day, we get a green light, we’ll look at the conditions that we can race in.”
10 races scheduled for the last 14 weeks of the calendar…
“The current calendar was published to start in Jerez and we’ve not been able to. When we have a clear idea of what’s happening, a lot of things could change.”
Is it logistically possible to race on a Sunday in Argentina and be ready on the Thursday in Valencia?
“Yes, it’s been done many times before. Even though it seems weird, it’s more difficult to get from Mugello to Catalunya than it is from Termas to Valencia. When you go far, you don’t take all of the trucks. There are a few containers that they fit in four Jumbo Jets and send it the same afternoon as the race and the following Wednesday they’re in another continent.”
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What will be the criteria for cancelling races?
“It will depend on the situation in those countries, and the weather. When we have the green light, with the good relationships in the paddock, we’ll fix everything to make the most of a bad situation.”
Do you speak with the riders?
“More than calling we speak on WhatsApp. The riders are concentrating on being physically ready, doing the most they can do at home. They’re anxious but we’re trying to keep them calm by letting them know we won’t be any more stressed than already expected.”
Will there need to be an extra test before competing?
“I don’t believe so. We already did a test in Qatar, so the first test will be racing.”
Will there be behind closed doors races?
“That will depend on what’s allowed. It would be better to have a race behind closed doors than not at all. Of course, the financial conditions for a promotor that can’t have public won’t be the same.”
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Are there any positive cases of coronavirus in MotoGP™?
“Thankfully, not yet.”
Will the minimum objective be to do 13 races?
“Not at all. The contract says we have to do a minimum of 13 races in normal conditions, and that’s not the case. We’ve agreed with the FIM that we’ll do what we can and when we can. Furthermore, if we could have a championship with 10 races, I would be very pleased. We’re going to try to do more but if, in these circumstances, we’re able to do 10 races, that would mean that humanity is okay, and that’s the most important thing.”
Is it possible that there won’t be a 2020 Championship?
“Our worst nightmares are made of this. We have to think of it, but there’s time. Of course it’s possible that we don’t race but I hope not, not for the races, but for humanity.”
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