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Who killed MotoGP? The world championship gets underway at Portimao, but the start is in the dark

Today the main Italian sports newspaper, the Gazzetta dello Sport, did not dedicate any space whatsoever to the presentation of the Aprilia satellite team, while Corriere dello Sport just did a small column. The mainstream media has been silent for years now. MotoE relies on a YouTuber. And SKY, which has now become aware of the negative trend, will stream the Sprint race unencrypted on YouTube

Who killed MotoGP? The world championship gets underway at Portimao, but the start is in the dark


Only five days to go now before things get underway with the inaugural GP of 2023, at Portimao. Actually four because the debut of the Sprint Race will take place on Saturday. So that must surely mean there is a lot of excitement, anticipation, pages in the newspapers to launch MotoGP? Nope!

In Corriere dello Sport there is one column for the launch (virtual, heaven forbid!) of the Aprilia satellite team which this year also has an Italian sponsor, Sterilgarda, while Gazzetta dello Sport decided to completely ignore the unveiling of a team that is also Italian.

In the MSM there is only Formula 1, indeed it would be better to say there is only Ferrari, which got a very bad start in both Grands Prix it has contested so far. There is lots of talk, but – who would ever have guessed – about Vasseur, Alonso, heaven forbid again, and space is even given to a request for data stolen in a cyberattack on Ferrari. But no trace whatsoever of MotoGP.

Yet MotoGP is, and a lot, also Italian: Ducati and Aprilia race there, the world champion is Pecco Bagnaia, and oh well, it might have been Savoy, but Turin was once also the capital of Italy if I remember correctly.

You may not have noticed anything, dear newspaper editors, but there happen to be six Italian riders in contention for the title and a total of 12 Italian bikes on the track, 8 Ducatis and 4 Aprilias.

I still have no idea who I'll find in the press room on Thursday, I hope to see many colleagues with whom I share passion and nationality, but I already know that Matteo Aglio will certainly be there for La Stampa from the mainstream newspapers. Because he writes for GPOne. Then I will almost certainly see Massimo Calandri of La Repubblica, irreversibly infected by the passion of Carlo Pernat. But I hope they won’t be the only ones.

I remember, because I've been going to circuits for a long time, that during the two years of Marco Lucchinelli and Franco Uncini's successes, I found all the newspapers, even Il Tempo and Il Messaggero. We were a great unit.

It's true, there was no internet and no websites like, so if you wanted the news you had to get it in the field. Today it's simpler, but that doesn't mean motorcycle racing has to escape from the event horizon as it is happening.

Last Friday I was at Vallelunga for the presentation of the MotoE World Championship and I listened to Claudio Domenicali while he chatted with his guests, given that Ducati is supplying the electric prototype: "just think, this year a very good YouTuber rider will take part, Luca Salvadori - said the CEO (I know it’s rude to listen in… ), and then added - my children are now talking about it and will follow it. Until last year, they didn't even know what MotoE was".

You’re right, Claudio and you did the right thing since, among other things, giants such as ENEL and MICHELIN are also involved in the MotoE world championship, but (trying) to hit a target (the electric championship), to ride a trend (electrification), which it seems is required to save the world, then realizing that your core business, the one that took Ducati to a record turnover, is disregarded, badly followed up, even ignored, how does that make you feel?

How about we talk about the only manufacturer that this year had the courage to make a presentation the way God intended and that in terms of marketing can also teach a lot to various car manufacturers. But the others? What are Honda and Yamaha doing, and a bit also what are KTM and Aprilia doing to promote the championship?

I have no idea. It seems to me that we are doing very, very little. I have only a glimmer of hope seeing that Dorna, for a long time stubbornly repressive, is opening up to the new world. And I hope it's not too late. I also hope that the riders, the manufacturers, the teams begin to express themselves as this sport deserves: with simplicity and courage, perhaps in a stubborn and contrary direction, as Fabrizio De Andrè used to sing. Because motorcycle racing is a young sport and for young people.

Two-wheel champions like Ayrton Senna, Michele Alboreto, Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell weren't politically correct characters. Keep this in mind when answering reporters' questions. And this goes for managers and team managers. Maybe then the daily newspapers will take note of motorcycle racing and if you talk to me about setting a good example, as far as football, a sovereign sport, is concerned, then that’s all you need to set a bad one.

I am disappointed with the current position of motorcycle racing. It was, perhaps, a poor sport when Roberto Gallina travelled around on a bus and his wife Gabriella cooked the pasta, but he gave us two world championships, with Marco and Franco in 1981 and 1982.

Now maybe we are a rich sport but I am afraid that investment is going in the wrong direction as there is less space in the newspapers, fewer spectators in the circuits, we are not a topic of conversation and a YouTuber - who I personally like, I would like to make it clear, because I appreciate talent - is needed to get people talking about MotoE despite the fact that there have been some big investments behind it.

Some people wonder where we are going wrong. And, of course, I wish I was Cassandra, and I hope this weekend to see pages and pages, reports on TV, I sincerely hope to be proven wrong. Meanwhile, SKY has noticed something and has decided to broadcast the first Sprint Race of the year on YouTube.

Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina*, patientia nostra? (For how much longer, Catiline*, will you abuse our patience?).

*Put here the names of those who you hold responsible for the current disaffection.


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