Carmelo Ezpeleta is the man who has changed motorcycling forever thanks to his work with Dorna. He steered the world championship towards the 4-stroke era, giving birth to MotoGP and made our sport one of the most important in the media, also thanks to what Valentino Rossi did on the track. A rider who has been the protagonist of the growth phase of MotoGP, becoming an icon and from a certain point of view one of its fundamental assets.
2022 will be the first season without Valentino on the track, or without the rider who brought motorcycling into everyone's homes. But Ezpeleta is not concerned that this might be a problem, recognizing instead Rossi's great legacy, represented both by the Academy and above all by everything he has been for this sport. There was also some space for Formula 1 and the controversial season finale, which in some way recalls what happened in 2015 in MotoGP. The Dorna CEO talked about it thoroughly in an interview with our Spanish colleagues in Marca.
"I wouldn't like that. I wouldn't want a MotoGP world championship to end like Formula 1 - said Ezpeleta - I'd like to have two riders fighting for the title in the last race, but it was the way the whole thing developed… I'm not for or against anyone. It was a fantastic championship, fought all year and ultimately led to disputes which are not a good thing. I like to have a championship, if possible, as hard-fought as that until the very end, but I don't like it that after the end there are doubts about the victory, that the runner-up won't talk anymore. I certainly don't want that. Just like I didn't dream, even if everyone was very happy from the point of view of media impact, with the mess in 2015 between Rossi and Márquez. I don't like these things. "
This will be the first MotoGP season without Valentino, but Ezpeleta is confident that his legacy will remain present.
"Valentino couldn't race until he was 60. In sport, age matters more or less depending on what you do. Valentino stretched his career out for as long as he saw fit. I don't think it's the last two years are the right ones to evaluate him, because people saw the others and he was 11th. But Valentino, at Valencia, was 10th, less than a second behind the guy who was winning with an incredible performance and record times. What happened is that before he would have been third and now he is 15th, 10th, 18th. To Valentino I can only say thank you for what he has been and I cannot ask him to go any further. He has one foot in the world championship, with a team, and what he did is incredible: he created the school, Tavullia, the Academy .... It happened more than once. Everyone said: 'What will happen when the Americans won’t be here? What will happen when Doohan is not here? We have always moved forward because the championship is very important. It is more important than anything else ".
Ezpeleta is convinced that the impact of Valentino's retirement will not be dramatic.
"Part of Valentino's legacy is having left so many guys riding great bikes. I don't think all the characters we currently have, if it weren't for Valentino, would be at the level they are. I see all the guys who arrive saying that their idol is Valentino and this makes you want to emulate him ".
According to the Spaniard, there will be no sort of passing of the media baton between Rossi and Marquez.
"We don't have a media relay between Rossi and Marquez, there isn't one. We have to do the best we can with what we have, which is a lot, which is better than there has ever been. There is no need to look for it. I am a big fan of all sports. When was the best time for a sport, when one sport dominated or when many dominated? There have been both periods. For example, the Tour de France was fantastic in Spain in the years when Indurain was winning, but it wasn't great in France. What we have to work for is that the world championship is as equal as possible, so that, if possible, different riders and different bikes continue to win and, if possible, that one of those who wins is a private rider, so much the better ".