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March 9th, 2017, 12:37 AM   #1
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Why MotoGP should get even better - Mat Oxley

Why MotoGP should get even better by Mat Oxley

Despite a record-breaking 2016, MotoGP should become even more exciting, thanks to a major cash boost for independent teams
The racing in last year’s MotoGP championship was some of the best in seven decades of Grand Prix competition. Can the 2017 season and beyond get even better?

The answer – against all the odds – seems to be yes.

One reason for optimism is Dorna’s new five-year deal that doubles its additional financial support for all independent teams from 2017.

This season Herve Poncharal’s Tech 3 team, for example, will receive four million euros for putting Jonas Folger and Johann Zarco on the grid, in addition to the standard event fees that Dorna pay all teams, factory and non-factory.

Poncharal won’t be the only team owner wandering down the Losail pit-lane later this month wearing a big grin. All MotoGP indie teams will receive two million euros per annum per rider, thanks to some solid negotiating from teams’ association IRTA. That adds up to 20 million euros for Tech 3 over the full term of the contract and 10 million euros for Lucio Cecchinello’s one-man LCR squad.

Dorna’s deal flies in the face of other big sports – most notably Formula 1 and football – which give most of their income to the top teams that are already rolling in sponsorship cash.

Carmelo Ezpeleta is no socialist, but (whisper it) MotoGP’s current direction set-up is petrol-head socialism, with machine performance equalised to improve the action.
The equalisation process began in the late 1980s when tobacco money arrived in a big way. Suddenly, many teams had the financial backing to lease factory-spec bikes from the factories. Those halcyon days of big budgets ended when tobacco sponsorship was banned following the 2006 season. Dorna’s current support for the smaller teams is a direct result of that ban and of the global financial meltdown that immediately followed. Essentially, Dorna has admitted that smaller teams cannot raise the money required to run MotoGP machinery, so they’ve had to put their hands in their own pockets. These outgoings are part-funded by Dorna’s lucrative deals with pay-TV stations.

The other important clause in Dorna’s new contract requires every manufacturer to make factory-spec bikes available to independent teams for a maximum lease fee of 2.2 million euros per rider. The idea is that the indies can use this competitive environment to negotiate reduced lease fees. This is already happening.

“I have had two other manufacturers approach me with different offers, one was lower than the maximum price, so it was an aggressive offer,” says Cecchinello. “So this again means that the manufacturers must look after their independent teams, otherwise we can go and work with a different manufacturer.”

Last edited by JKant; March 9th, 2017 at 12:42 AM.
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