Carmelo Ezpeleta has been expressing his thoughts about the situation in motorcycling via the championship’s official channels on the eve of the start of the MotoGP and SBK seasons, starting respectively in Qatar and Phillip Island, addressing a series of topics that were mainly covered during a long interview with GPOne’s Paolo Scalera, which we published in two parts last week.
The Dorna CEO spoke again about the situation of Andrea Iannone, which is still hanging in the balance and waiting for a decision that is late in coming, and that is making it almost impossible for him to be at the start of the world championship in Qatar.
"In Dorna, as always, and it cannot be any other way, we are respecting the law. There has been a hearing from Andrea and Aprilia in the tribunal and we are waiting for the answer. In any case it’s very important to say that we think that the quantities in the test were very small, but I repeat, we will be very respectful of the decision and I hope the situation will be good. The only thing is that people must be penalized when this is clear, then the penalty is in place or whatever.”
According to the Spaniard, the current regulations should be changed, inserting parameters that are more appropriate to motorsport, rather than applying the same parameters as any other sport.
“My wish, as CEO of Dorna, and I was talking with the president of the FIM, is that one of the proposals is that we must have our own list of forbidden products. Today we are working with forbidden products in all the sports but motorsport and especially MotoGP is special. This is my wish but it’s outside our possibilities. I was asking the FIM to try to consolidate a list of forbidden products, in agreement with Wada, for our sport, but we cannot control that.”
Ezpeleta: "Coronavirus? Government decisions, we are controlling the situation"
Another issue Ezpeleta addressed is obviously very topical and we are referring to the coronavirus emergency. At the moment there are no official communications, but the situation is constantly evolving and there is a real risk that some GPs will be postponed or even cancelled, as has happened for the Chinese GP in F1.
“In Thailand or any other country, due to the coronavirus problem, what we are doing is to talk with local authorities to tell us if the country is safe. We already talked with Thailand, also with Qatar to see the situation, and later on with the United States. It’s outside of our decision, it will be a governmental decision everywhere.”
In 2020 the KymiRing will make its first appearance on the MotoGP calendar and work is proceeding at a great pace to make sure that everything is ready for the first round of the world championship in Finland since the time of the legendary Imatra track.
“They are still working hard, as with any new circuit. Always with the first GP it’s not easy. These people are serious, and we are trying to help everything. Regarding the territory, Finland has been an important MotoGP place, especially with Saarinen and other Finnish riders and I think that having a circuit in Finland will be something very good and I hope in the future it will be consolidated as one of the GPs.”
Ezpeleta: "A lot of demand from countries for MotoGP, 5 races on the Iberian Peninsula are too many"
Ezpeleta also explained again the concept related to the rotation of the rounds in the Iberian Peninsula, which will go up to five with the arrival of Portimao on the calendar.
“Due to the demand of many countries interested in expanding MotoGP around the world, we cannot continue with 5 GPs in the Iberian Peninsula. The agreement we signed with Valencia is a guarantee of 3 GPs in 5 years. At least we will not sign any more agreements than the existing ones. We will have 24 proposal agreements to be signed. If any of them are not in place for any of the years, maybe then it will be 4 GPs instead of 3. The agreement is 3 GPs minimum. It is clear that Valencia was the first to approach us and we agreed that in the first year of rotation Valencia will continue with the GP and also if Valencia is in the calendar it will be the last GP of the year. Depends if we want to finish inside or outside of Europe or on what the other GPs in the Iberian Peninsula are, it depends on many things, we will see exactly the situation.”
After saying that Superbike was a second division championship (read Jonathan Rea's reply) and declaring that he had rejected Kawasaki's request for a wild card entry, Ezpeleta made it clear that he never received an official request from the Akashi manufacturer.
“I want to clarify that Kawasaki officially has not made a request to be a wild card in MotoGP through the team. Then the question is if it is possible for Kawasaki or any other manufacturer to have a wild card. Due to the existing rules, the wild cards are possible only for existing manufacturers but if Kawasaki or any other manufacturers who are not today in the championship want to participate, they can do it following the rules and through one of the existing independent teams.”
In closing, Ezpeleta commented on the outcome of the MotoGP test winter season, which seems to have revealed a more well-balanced situation on the eve of the 2020 season.
"The situation seen in the tests doesn’t necessarily reflect the real situation in the first race. But in any case, it was impressive to see 18 riders in Qatar in less than one second. We also had all six manufacturers very close and this is a very important aspect. Thanks to the technical concession rules, both KTM and Aprilia have improved a lot and for me this is an excellent scenario. Of course, I underline that it is only a test, but it is in any case a good sign to start the season with a lot of balance".