The world championship has welcomed the arrival of the American team Trackhouse in MotoGP and it couldn't be otherwise because the two-wheeled Circus is increasingly looking for internationality and wants to enter the US market, following in the footsteps of Formula 1. The problem is that the world championship looks like an Italian-Spanish affair if we take the nationalities of its riders into consideration.
The entry lists for 2023 recently published confirm this unwritten rule and this especially applies to the premier class. Out of 22 starters, next year there will be 10 Spaniards and 6 Italians, equal to 45% and 27% of the total respectively. Adding them together we arrive at 72%, i.e. 3 out of 4 riders are Italian or Spanish. The other nationalities represented are few: there are 2 French, a Japanese, an Australian, a South African and a Portuguese.
If we want to make a comparison with Formula 1, the difference could not be greater: the 20 entered drivers, in fact, represent 14 different nations. There is something for all tastes: while France and Great Britain are the most numerous in terms of participants, there is no shortage of others from Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, Holland, Germany, Spain, Mexico, China, Japan, Denmark, Monaco. In short, there is a good part of the world in the line-up.
The world championship is trying to break out of its traditional boundaries, but it is no coincidence that since MotoGP has existed only three non-Italian or Spanish riders have won a title: Casey Stoner, Fabio Quartararo (both trained in Spain) and Nicky Hayden (who seems like the classic exception that proves the rule).
Even in the immediate future the situation does not seem destined to change, and not only because two Spaniards (Pedro Acosta and Jaume Masia) won the titles in the minor categories. Next year in Moto2 Iberians will occupy almost half of the field: they will be 13 out of 30, 43%. If we also add the 3 Italians, it exceeds half of the total, 53%. The same percentage that they will also achieve in Moto3, albeit with some differences. Because out of the 26 riders entered for the championship, the Spaniards will be 9 (34%) and the Italians 5 (19%). Taking the total number of riders in the 3 classes, Italians and Spanish represent 60% (41% only the Iberians).
It must be said that the two minor classes can boast greater variety than the main one, with 13 nationalities represented in Moto2 and 10 in Moto3, but logically it cannot be taken for granted that this diversity will also arrive in MotoGP if the Spaniards and the Italians, who are not to blame for being the best, always win.
Dorna and the FIM have been aware of this problem for some time and it must be admitted that they have moved to try and reverse the trend with the Talent Cups (in addition to the European one, there are the Asian, British and the one dedicated to Northern Europe), but above all with the MiniGP championships, which are held all over the world with a final in Valencia, coinciding with the last GP of the season. While this year the 190 class was dominated by the Spaniard Luca with the Italians Pritelli and Savino on the podium, the 160 was won by the Malaysian Irfan, ahead of the Japanese Togashi and the German Zaragoza. It will take years to see the fruits of this project in the world championship, but a first step has been taken. Provided that we then help these riders to race in Spain, which is still the nerve centre of a championship that would like to be world-wide.