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Ezpeleta and the future of MotoGP: "more USA and less Europe, BMW might enter"

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO - Dorna CEO to our Bar Sport: "Liberty Media will help us to grow and I don't rule out a Grand Prix together with Formula 1. Umbrella girls? They will stay."

Ezpeleta and the future of MotoGP: "more USA and less Europe, BMW might enter"

Carmelo Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna, was the special guest on GPOne's latest Bar Sport (which you can watch in full above). In the aftermath of the agreement with Liberty Media, the MotoGP boss spoke across the board with us about the future of MotoGP, answering not only questions from Carlo Pernat, Paolo Scalera and Matteo Aglio, but also from viewers who followed the live broadcast.

"It is a very important agreement that we have been working on for almost a year," Ezpeleta explained, "Both parties had the desire to finalize it, and we are really happy to have succeeded. To be appreciated by a company of Liberty Media's level means that we have not done a bad job, and we think it is very important to work with them to take another step forward. Their experience, not only in F1, is very important and we think it will help to make us grow."

How important was your relationship with Domenicali, the boss of Formula 1?
"Stefano and I are really friends, almost two brothers. He did an extraordinary job in F1, we talked a lot and his presence was important for this agreement."

Now that F1 and MotoGP are together, what will happen to the other championships, from SBK on down?
"It isn't Formula 1 that has bought MotoGP, but Liberty Media: we are two separate companies and we will continue like this, just under the same umbrella. All championships are important and we don't want to change the way we do things.The change we expect is to tell more about our sport, to have the ability to get to more places and reach more people: in this Liberty Media is very experienced. Right now I don't see any big changes in what we do. Clearly there will be new technical regulations from 2027, but otherwise we are happy with what we have."

Will you be inspired by motor racing to help grow motorcycle racing?
"Formula 1 is in some respects similar to us and vice versa, but in others very different. For one thing, their agreement with the FIA and ours with the FIM are not similar, then the relationships with the manufacturers are different, and they don't have IRTA."

Greg Maffei, CEO of Liberty Media, said he wants more races in the U.S. Will Europe be the one to suffer?
"Definitely, but not until 2027. We can't have more than 22 Grands Prix per season, and certainly in the future there won't be five on the Iberian Peninsula."

There is also a lack of American riders.
"We have not yet talked about what to do in America. In order to have U.S. riders, or anywhere else, we need to start from a young age. In the U.S., in the past, SBK was an avenue to get to MotoGP, now with MotoAmerica that is not the case, as much as it is a high-level championship and our relationship with Rainey is great. We have to think about the smaller championships and figure out how to have similar series to what we have in Europe or Asia. In the United States there is some difficulty because of the minimum possible age of the riders, but we will try to have American riders."

Will it be possible to limit clashing races between the series?
"It is impossible. If we have 22 GPs, F1 24 and SBK 13 in a time period from March to November, it is very difficult not to have clashing races. You can only try to put the races at different times. Starting in February might be a possibility, considering the weather we would have to go to the East, we are thinking about it."

Doesn't this overabundance of races risk driving the public away instead of bringing them closer?
"I believe the opposite: we don't do more races because it would be too demanding for teams and drivers, ideally we would start in January and finish in December, but that's impossible. All the time you're not racing, you disappear. People like to see races every week or every other week. We won't go beyond 22 GPs, but the public would like that."

Is the idea of holding a Grand Prix with F1 and MotoGP together still possible?
"It is something to think about. It is an idea that Stefano and I have talked about in the past and it was not possible to realize because it is complicated, but I don't stop thinking about such options."

Might BMW enter MotoGP any time soon?
"It's one thing for it to be possible, another for it to be feasible. Obviously we have to wait for the new regulations that will be published soon, I think we won't have to wait more than a month, a month and a half and then the manufacturers can consider the possibilitiesIt would be important for other manufacturers to come in and BMW is a very important manufacturer."

Will there be a common video pass for F1 and MotoGP?
"There won't be for the moment: it's like going to the bar, if you have a beer and a coffee you pay for both (laughs). However, F1 and MotoGP TV rights will not be sold together."

Will you continue with the Pay-TV model, or might the races go back to free-to-air in the future?
"With the costs we have now, free-to-air TVs cannot simply pay for the rights we get from Pay-TV with advertising. That's what allows us to cover 50 percent of each MotoGP team's costs."

Wouldn't broadcasting at least the Sprint in free-to-air be a good compromise?
"It will be discussed, but I don't like to force anyone. It is better to come to agreements, but it also depends on the different markets. Free-to-air television can be a very good option to then subscribe to pay television, but you have to find the right balance."

Riders are concerned about the disappearance of umbrella girls, as happened in F1...
"I think it's a matter of freedom, we can't tell anyone they can't be there. Banning umbrella girls I think would be a gesture against women, not in their favor."

What would you like to say to Italian fans?
"It is very important for Italians to realize the excellence of their motorcycle manufacturers, like Ducati and Aprilia, and also their riders. I would like to be more popular in Italy as well, and I think the spectacle of the two Italian GPs deserves to be totally sold out."


Translated by Julian Thomas

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