Carmelo Ezpeleta put his best face on it to talk about the sport. Dorna's boss was today interviewed by Paolo Scalera during the daily live broadcast on the GPOne channels and he answered the questions of the many fans who want to know when they will be able to see MotoGP and SBK on the track. The Big Boss of motorcycle racing proved to be optimistic…
"We have started to work on a number of different scenarios, I understand that it will be tough but there is the possibility of starting again; we are in contact with the different circuits to see which ones will be able to host a Grand Prix - he explained - Certainly there might be the possibility of having spectators in Europe, but we think we can start in late July and continue until early November. There is also the possibility of having multiple races on the same circuit but only on two consecutive weekends ".
How will you ensure the safety of all working people?
“We are creating a protocol with the Spanish Ministry of Sport. We have already talked to the manufacturers and the teams to minimize the number of people needed to hold the races. Everyone will have to undergo a test before leaving home, then it will be repeated every day at the circuit. The goal is to transport even less material, we are seeing how to better organize things, for example meals, and I believe that by the beginning of June we will have some clear ideas on how to do everything. "
What will happen if a rider proves to be positive?
“He will have to be isolated, like all the people he came in contact with. Logically he will not be able to race, it will be as if he were injured. There will be a medical service dedicated to these emergencies to better manage them ".
When will the new calendar be published?
"Our desire is to do it in early June, even earlier if there is a chance."
Will you start from Austria as Formula 1 is thinking of doing?
“I can't say it now. I don't think the GP at the Red Bull Ring will be our first race, we would like to keep it on the current date (16 August) and start earlier. "
Will there be a test before the championship starts?
"Yes, on the Thursday of the week of the first race."
Will it be a championship that will be held exclusively in Europe?
“I am not saying that we will certainly not go outside Europe, I am in contact with all the circuits and I do not rule out this option. For sure, long journeys will be more complicated to organize, but we will try to do them if possible”.
Have you ever thought that this season might not start, is there still a possibility of it happening?
“I always think about what will happen in the worst-case scenario, so we contemplated this option for a day and a half; we figured out what to do in that case, then I never thought about it again. There is no need to give percentages, there is no thought of not racing, but if it does happen, we already know how to go on. "
Did you ever think it might have been a better idea to cancel this season?
“Clearly, it's better to race, it's much better to do 10 races instead of nothing. It's the first calculation we made. "
As Italians, we ask you: is there more of a chance of racing in Misano or at Mugello?
“For the moment Misano, but let's not give up on Mugello, it's still possible. But with the Misano circuit, the talks are at a more advanced stage, also thanks to the help of San Marino which makes it easier to race behind closed doors ".
What should someone who has already bought a ticket for a GP that has been cancelled do?
"You must contact the local organizer, the circuit. Usually two possibilities are given: either to get your money back or to keep the ticket for next year”.
Some SBK managers have proposed a winter calendar. What do you think about that?
“We never talked about it. When we see what the first circuits where we can race will be, we will act accordingly. One idea is to organize the SBK race the weekend following the MotoGP one, on the tracks where it will be possible. However, we will not go beyond the end of November ".
How many races will take place? You spoke of a minimum number of 13 in Losail for the championship to be valid…
“We would like to do as many as possible (laughs). It is true in Qatar I had said that number; it seems to me that it was in the Pleistocene era and yet only one month has passed! That is the agreement between Dorna and FIM, but we are both available to revise it. The first world championship ran over 5 races, the first one organized by Dorna over 13 and both were valid. I believe that we can organize at least 10 races, 14 would be ideal. "
Let's talk about the future. Costs will probably have to be reduced, will it be possible to combine MotoGP and SBK in a single series?
"It will never happen. SBK would only increase the costs and would not bring more profits, the circuits would not pay more and not even the TVs, the same would be true for the sponsors ".
However, cuts will have to be made…
“Bridgepoint and the Canadian Public Pension Fund, owners of Dorna, have proven to be very cooperative. They immediately asked for our opinion and we told them that it was necessary to help the private teams of the 3 categories. We are working to have a championship similar to what we had; of course, there will be less money, but we don't want to decrease the quality of our product. We have frozen the development of engines and aerodynamics in MotoGP and that of motorcycles in Moto2 and Moto3 just to allow savings. We do not know how different the economic situation will be, but we cannot diminish our quality. The coronavirus shows us that you can have the best marketing but without the riders who race we have nothing. The idea is to maintain and improve the quality of the races ".
Are you talking to the riders?
“Yes, they are fine, they are perplexed like everyone else, they understand what an exceptional situation this is. The important thing will not be to give them too much stress on the restart and the solution of having two races on the same circuit, without having to travel, has also been designed for this."
Have you heard from Rossi too? He said he plans to continue racing in 2021 as well…
"We spoke last week, but I never touch that topic, he knows what I think and vice versa. I would be happy if he raced an extra year; if he has fun, if he is competitive then he will continue. His age? That's simply something on the identity card. "
What do you think instead of the Iannone case?
“I cannot and must not comment on the sentence. From a personal point of view, I would like him to be acquitted”.
Will a shorter championship favour any particular rider?
"I think the protagonists will remain the same, but someone else may be added to them."
Many fans would like to see the GPs on free-to-air TV, at least this year…
“Pay-TVs are also experiencing a difficult economic situation; they need to broadcast the races. For the fans, this season ticket will be their contribution to motorcycling. "
Did this crisis teach you anything?
“I have seen that all of motorcycling is capable of working together: Dorna, FIM, the manufacturers, the teams, the press, from homes, everyone. This time we are all united and I am really pleased about that."