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Ezpeleta: ‘Rossi is an example to all riders’

Ezpeleta: ‘Rossi is an example to all riders’

In an interview with Spanish broadcaster Movistar TV, Dorna Sports’ CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has covered several current MotoGP™ topics, such as next year’s provisional calendar, the arrival of new constructors in the World Championship, Valentino Rossi’s role in the sport and Jack Miller’s jump from Moto3™ to the premier class.  

The first point to be covered by Mr Ezpeleta was why the start of the 2015 World Championship has been put back one week provisionally, compared with 2014. Mr Ezpeleta, “The clash with another sports event, a big football match in the Spanish league is one reason, as it not only affects a significant market such as Spain but that match attracts global interest. However, there were other equally important matters to consider, like the fact that there will now not be so many weeks between Qatar and Austin, which caused some complaints last year. It’s also better to start later as there should be less moisture in Qatar, which is always a concern with the night race.”

The provisional schedule announced on Friday includes 18 Grands Prix, as is the case this year, with Brazil once again not featuring. Mr Ezpeleta stated, “The circuit has not been completed. We preferred to wait this time, and we have total faith that for 2016 it will be ready. For this season we had a lot of demand from countries who want to come in and it is too soon to advance further developments. What is certain is that there will still be four races in Spain, because they all have an existing contract. From 2016 we'll see.”

Meanwhile in terms of MotoGP manufacturers, the forthcoming regulation changes for 2016 are encouraging constructors such as Suzuki and Aprilia to make a return to Grand Prix, with KTM also aiming to enter the premier class in 2017.

Mr Ezpeleta commented, “We are not talking with any one manufacturer, it's the brands themselves who according to the regulations decide that they are interested in coming. It's what we expected. We have not been to see anyone to tell them to come to MotoGP. Before the announcement of the standard ECU, Suzuki had already expressed an interest in returning. Aprilia initially said they would return in 2016 and have come back one year earlier.”

Regarding the benefits of the Open regulation to manufacturers such as Ducati, Ezpeleta noted, “There is a consensus among the three current manufacturers. It is a policy that favors the Open bikes and manufacturers that have not won anything in recent years, or are returning to racing. Based on results they will lose the soft tyre. I think no one would be happier than Ducati to lose these benefits immediately. The same applies to Suzuki next year.”

Regarding Moto3™ frontrunner Miller’s arrival in MotoGP next year, Mr. Ezpeleta said, “It's an individual’s choice. We think it's normal to go through Moto2. The impression we have, and the impression given to us by those who have gone through Moto2 to get to MotoGP is that it's a great training ground. But if you want to skip a category it’s a decision for you and your team.”

Meanwhile, on the role of highly popular and successful Italian rider Rossi in the World Championship, following his recent superb win at Misano, Mr. Ezpeleta noted, “He is a pillar of the championship, but not the only important pillar. I've never hidden that for us Valentino is someone special. He is 35 years-old but I think that age is not what defines you, it is the desire you have. I think physically he is similar to when he was 25. In his case I think it is the opposite even, that he is fitter than he was then. Regarding how iconic he is, above all he’s a great rider, he loves his job. With his qualities, he is someone who is able to reinvent himself, to use a bike that does not suit his riding style, he understands that it is fast. He is an example of what we think a rider should be.”


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