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MotoGP: The riders are asking for clarity in the rules: Dorna and FIM, it's up to you!

A few words with Paolo Simoncelli, whom we met in Portimao, reminded us that business isn't everything, that victory isn't everything, that there are responsibilities to take on and others to delegate. And that maybe it's time for the FIM to take responsibility for the management of this sport

MotoGP: The riders are asking for clarity in the rules: Dorna and FIM, it's up to you!


The MotoGP riders said it loud and clearly yesterday: the FIM needs to wake up and apply a regulation that can definitely be improved.

The problem is that we don't know how much has been done within the body chaired by Jorge Viegas to include figures with experience in the legal or media fields. Two sectors in which the International Federation is decidedly lacking.

After signing a multi-year contract with Dorna, the FIM has offloaded virtually every responsibility onto the shoulders of the Spanish organiser, ending up acting as the passer-by, rather than the body that should worry about the 'health' of MotoGP, which among all the specialties of motorcycling is certainly its flagship. The one that brings millions of euros into its coffers.

On the other hand Viegas, following in the footsteps of Vito Ippolito, the previous Venezuelan President, while sharing a sporting past with him - Vito, son of Andreas, enlightened team owner of the ‘70s, Jorge even a former racer in the intermediate classes - is certainly not an aggressive man. And instead probably motorcycle racing in this period needs someone, even with all the limits of a sport in the hands of Dorna, to take the bull more by the horns. But to do so, he would need excellent collaborators: who don't exist.

But now is the time to wake up: the case of the penalty imposed on Marquez in Portugal, poorly written and heralding legal disputes that sport could gladly do without, is the classic straw that breaks the camel's back.

Jack Miller's words are a clear indication of what needs to be done


Without going into merits, Jack Miller is right when he bluntly said yesterday that motorcycle racing accidents happen and will always happen, but you need to be able to manage them.

However, what appears clear from the outside is that in MotoGP the riders no longer have a point of reference. I mean: in the past (and excuse me if I talk about it often) there were rider/leaders. I'm talking about Barry Sheene, Kenny Roberts, Virginio Ferrari, who were very active in terms of safety. They were men who might not have taken prisoners on the track, but who would never have jeopardized the safety of a colleague. Suffice to say, just remember how pissed off Roberts got at Anderstorp in 1983 for an overtaking move by Freddie Spencer that sent him off the track and for which, but this is a detail, in the end KR lost the world championship.

Who is the leader among the riders today? Nobody. There is no one. There have been too many retirements: Rossi, Dovizioso, Lorenzo, Pedrosa…even if none of them then, in the end, ever covered the role that Sheene and Agostini were able to play in the ‘70s, managing to get the Tourist Trophy eliminated from the world championship in 1977 thus paving the way for the GP at the Silverstone circuit.

But do you know why this leader figure is missing today? It's simple: because the FIM-Dorna system does everything (the first by doing nothing, the second by showing a good face to those who listen) in order not to favour it coming about. The total absence of responses from the Federation and Carmelo Ezpeleta's figure of a good father to the riders end up by discouraging cohesion. We had an example of this in Austin years ago, when on the occasion of the Fukushima disaster, Casey Stoner, the only one who strongly opposed the Grand Prix, was 'besieged' until he gave in.

Today the problem is that riders lack a target to attack


The problem cannot be the lack of solidarity, when did riders ever agree? We are still talking about great rivalries. The fact is that in the past there was an institution against which to rise up: it was the FIM. Low retainer fees, too dangerous circuits, there was a common 'enemy' against which to team up. And the president at the time, Nicolas Rodil Del Valle, the dictator to overthrow.

Today there is no target: Jorge Viegas is a lovable figure, but although he is a former rider, perhaps he is too distant from today's riders. And Carmelo Ezpeleta is too smart a manager to get in the way. He is a mediator… who in the end, however, decides on his own. The case of the Sprint Race is emblematic: if it had really involved the riders it would have been like a tug-of-war contest. He decided, putting everyone in front of a fait accompli. A skilful move, whether you like it or not.

Simoncelli: "now only MotoGP counts, it's clear they want to eliminate Moto3 and Moto2"


The events in Portimao, however, lead us, indeed take us back to the reality of a sports management that is well below par. Dorna can't do everything, despite having done a lot. And IRTA is no longer the association we knew. Created to protect the interests of the teams. Just think of the fact that the majority of the teams that break it are from Moto3 and Moto2, which count for less and less. Actually nothing.

Paolo Simoncelli, whom we met walking in the paddock, was sincere and brutal as he always is: "now only MotoGP counts, they want to eliminate us, it's clear by now - he told us, adding - but I love this sport and I'll be here as long as possible" .

Well, men like Simoncelli are a rare breed today, and not just in our sport. Even in life. We should think that business isn't everything, that winning isn't everything, that there are responsibilities to take on and others to delegate. And that maybe it's time for the FIM to take responsibility for the management of this sport.


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