MotoGP's Expanding Calendar - Why MotoGP Races Where, And How Dorna And Circuits Make Money

The expansion of the MotoGP calendar has met with resistance from a variety of quarters. While a section of MotoGP fans are enthusiastic about there being 21 races next year, up from 20 in 2022, and from 19 pre-pandemic, those inside the MotoGP paddock are largely opposed.

That includes at least some of the manufacturers. KTM bosses Hubert Trunkenpolz and Stefan Pierer were adamant that the ideal number of races on the MotoGP calendar was 18. "18 races would be ideal, 20 is the absolute maximum," Trunkenpolz told Speedweek's Günther Wiesinger.

Pierer agreed with his fellow KTM board member. "I made it very clear to Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta that we as a manufacturer want a maximum of 18 grand prix," Pierer told Speedweek.

Trunkenpolz was damning of the choice of Sokol International Racetrack as a venue. "Kazakhstan makes absolutely no sense, as far as we are concerned. The Buddh International Circuit near New Delhi was a better prospect, as India is an important market for the motorcycle manufacturers.

Making money going racing

Speedweek asked Carmelo Ezpeleta for a response this criticism, and his answers reveal some of the underlying questions which Dorna's model for MotoGP is built on. The reason for adding Kazakhstan to the calendar? "There was no other promoter who would agree to host a race in July," Ezpeleta said.

No race in July would have left a five-week gap in the calendar. "We can't afford to be absent from the motorsports world for such a long period," Ezpeleta insisted. That logic would not appear to apply to WorldSBK, however, which has a six-week gap between Mandalika and Assen in March and April, and a five-week gap between Most and Magny-Cours in August and September.

More importantly, races like Kazakhstan and India will bring in more money for Dorna. "We lose money on the races in Europe," the Dorna boss claimed.

That is an interesting statement. It is also one which requires some explanation of Dorna's business model, as Ezpeleta is talking here specifically about Dorna losing money on European races, rather than the circuit or promoter running the event.

The business model

How does Dorna make money? The Spanish company has three streams of income: TV broadcasting rights; sponsorship; and sanctioning fees, the amounts which circuits pay Dorna for the right to host a race. Those three revenue streams are roughly equal, each contributing roughly a third of Dorna's overall income.

When Carmelo Ezpeleta says that European races lose money, we have to assume that he means that the hosting fee does not cover the costs that Dorna incurs to stage the race. Hosting fees vary per race, Dorna signing separate contracts with the promoter of each event. In most cases, that is the circuit itself, but for events such as Le Mans or the Sachsenring, the contract is with a promoter, who has a separate deal with the circuit to organize a race.

What does it cost to host a MotoGP race? On average, circuits pay somewhere between €5 and €8 million, depending on the event. Some races pay a lot less, and some races outside Europe pay a lot more.

Who pays what, and why?

The reasons for those differences vary with the location. The US is a very important market for Dorna and the manufacturers, and so US races generally pay less than other overseas races. Originally, Laguna Seca paid a relative pittance to Dorna for the right to hold the US round of MotoGP, because Dorna saw it as their way of getting a foot in the door of the US market. But so small was the amount paid that MotoGP was the only class to visit the Californian circuit, with the AMA making up the support classes.

Qatar, on the other hand, has a race because the person who owns the circuit wants to host a race, and Qatar wants to indulge in sportswashing. Qatar pay a lot of money to host the first race – enough to cover the transport costs for most of the flyaway races. But Qatar itself is a relatively unimportant market for both Dorna and the manufacturers. A night race makes for good spectacle, but Qatar needs MotoGP more than MotoGP needs Qatar.

Where the money goes

What does the hosting fee pay for? For a start, MotoGP teams get a set amount to cover their costs for the year, roughly €2.5 million per rider, per year. Then there's freight costs, and various other services provided. But Dorna also have a lot of people working for them, especially to help put on the TV broadcasts.

There are dozens and dozens of camera operators, and each camera operator has at least one assistant, and often two. Then there are the cable riggers, audio and video engineers, technicians and more. There are TV producers and security staff, the medical staff, helicopter pilots, and more. There's the communications staff, the admin staff, people organizing passes, writing press releases, ensuring they get sent out.

Dorna also pays IRTA a set fee, which covers the practical running of the event, as well as everyone in Race Direction. There's the FIM Stewards, the Technical Director, Race Director, and everyone overseeing and organizing the paddock.

All these people need hotel rooms to stay in, vehicles to get to the circuit in, three meals a day, and coffee to keep them going. Without them, the race doesn't happen.

The reason for races

Why does Dorna sign contracts with circuits for less than the price it costs them to run the event? Because they benefit in other ways. As with the example of Laguna Seca, Dorna may have an overwhelming interest in cracking into a particular market. The US TV market is the Holy Grail for Dorna, and one they have still failed to crack. Being present in growing markets is important too, which is why there is a focus on South America, India, Indonesia, and other parts of the Asia Pacific basin.

The factories have a say as well. It is in the interest of the manufacturers for MotoGP to be racing in important markets. Having races in India, Argentina, Indonesia, Malaysia is an important part of their marketing, and those are regions where both the factories and Dorna would like to expand. But that also means ensuring there is a race in Germany, the UK, France, some of Europe's major motorcycle markets. "With Ducati and Aprilia, we have two Italian factories who supply 12 of the 22 riders on the grid," Ezpeleta pointed out to Speedweek, when asked about Mugello.

There are also races which bring less tangible benefits. There are races with a long history, such as Assen, which are important to the championship. There are races which are important to the teams, most of whom are based in either Italy or Spain; the ability to bring sponsors to races is an important part of the business model of the teams.

And there are races which help sell the spectacle of MotoGP. Phillip Island is in a remote part of Australia, and is relatively sparsely attended. But the Australian GP always produces spectacular racing against a spectacular backdrop, and that helps sell the product to TV broadcasters. The same is true of Mugello.

The view of the track

It is important to point out here that Carmelo Ezpeleta is only speaking from the perspective of Dorna when he says there are races in Europe that do not make money for them. Whether a particular race is profitable for Dorna is not directly correlated to whether it makes money for the circuit hosting it, or the promoter organizing it.

Circuits make money through ticket sales and VIP packages. (Not from sponsorship though: the money for the event title sponsorship and signage all goes to Dorna.) Some circuits, such as Assen, Le Mans, or the Red Bull Ring, bring in massive crowds. Those races are profitable, and can survive without subsidy.

Other races are less well-attended, or have additional costs – the Sachsenring has massive crowds, but needs so much temporary infrastructure put in place for fans that it barely breaks even – and so struggle to make money on MotoGP races. Those races are often subsidized by regional or national governments, to promote the region to tourists and business – Jerez and Aragon come to mind. Staging large-scale events also generates income for those regions, from hotels, restaurants, tolls, parking fees, and other services.

Races are also good marketing for the circuits themselves. They help attract other, cheaper, but more profitable events, and they also make the circuits an attractive proposition for visitors. Being able to do a track day on a grand prix circuit adds a cachet that other circuits lack.

The future of the calendar

What does this mean for the future of the MotoGP calendar? There will always be a tension between Dorna, who want more races, and at circuits which are willing to pay a premium for the right to host a race, and the rest of the paddock. But unlike Formula 1, which has already expanded to 24 races in 2023, there are natural limits on the number of races MotoGP can have.

First, there's the contractual limit. The teams signed up to a maximum of 22 races until the end of the next five-year contract period, which ends in 2026. What's more, Ezpeleta told Speedweek, each race over 20 costs Dorna €2.5 million in extra payments to the teams through Dorna.

More significantly, there's the issue of safety. There are only a limited number of circuits capable of hosting a MotoGP race, and which have the requisite safety features to pass the necessary FIM Grade A certification. Unlike F1, MotoGP can't run street races on closed public roads.

What's more, MotoGP is caught in something of an in-between stage. Large enough to attract interest from around the world, but not enough of a marketing juggernaut to gain the sponsorship needed to stage a lot more races. Teams are already at the limit of what the can endure without making mistakes, but MotoGP doesn't generate enough revenue to pay for the staff needed to rotate crews through the season, as other series do. The money is stretched rather thin.

That is the next obstacle MotoGP faces, and not one which is easy to fix. While Dorna has been outstanding at organizing races, running them as safely as possible (though the Moto3 and World Supersport 300 classes are starting to pose problems in that respect) and in producing a world-class TV product, they have not managed to market MotoGP as well as other motorsports series have done. Potential continues to go untapped, and opportunities ungrasped. In a rapidly changing media and entertainment environment, that is the biggest challenge facing MotoGP.


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Comments

Great article David, thank you. I've posted before that I would like to read more reporting of racing economics--rider salary, event break-even, the cost of a gp machine, what Suzuki's P&L looked like--and you have done this. Satisfying reading. But...

"The US is a very important market for Dorna and the manufacturers." Er, no WSBK in North America for years now, and only COTA for gp. Why? $? North America does not appear to be a Dorna priority.

Thanks again, hope to read more of this type of analysis.

 

Cost of transport are lower for the European races though. Going to "2nd World" countries has secondary costs...like the crazy shite they sometimes do to grift, impounding and taxing.

Re marketing, the "Drive To Survive" MotoGP Unlimited thing was oddly flummoxed. First they put it on Scamazon Plus. Then pull the plug mid 2nd season and toss it in the garbage? The F1 one on Netflix got HUGE viewership and a marketing windfall.

Motorcycle racing, and riders - they are visually much more compelling than F1. How did they fail like that?!

Rulebook too, it just took a turn for the worse re passing. Excessive aero, then shapeshifters screwed it up. Remove them, get a new front Michelin. For the show. For costs.

I'm a broken record. Dead horse well tenderized.

I'm looking fwd to the sprints. Glad we have some fantastic tracks. The fans in the up and coming markets seem enthusiastic.

 

Speaking of beating a dead horse, I wish (and always will) that Dorna would run back to back races at Laguna Seca and COTA. I’ve attended races at both venues and each offers a great viewing opportunity. Laguna Seca, although small, has provided many classic racing moments in the past, from turn one passes to the Corkscrew moments. Man, I love that track.

I've watched a couple of 500 GPs there and was lucky enough to ride it once in the way-back-when, when the first GSX-R1100 was introduced. But sadly, it's too small and too dangerous for the Moto GP bikes any more. I remember when Marco Luchinelli first went there and walked the track, got to the top of the Corkscrew, and said, "Mama mia!"

"New GSXR1100," wow - good for you Larry. That's right solidly where I see sportbikes starting, 1986 or so. That Kawasaki GPZ nearly does it, but for me it was GSXR and FZR as our qualitatively different beginning. 

Remember your very 1st time approaching the turn in to drop into the corkscrew?! You just see black skid marks, and apparently you have to throw it full left over the edge of a 10 story building. "Just go for that one tree top you'll see" was the single advice.

Then flip a transition full right while falling?! Then suspension fully compresses and you have to shoot the throttle. 

Mama Papa y Dios mia

The corner that REALLY frightened me was T2, end of the "straight." How the heck do you get in there?!

Love it dearly. Moto3 would be perfect at Laguna Seca. 

Are you happy for the Portimao addition? Tickles some of the same stuff but more...sane? Is there a particular BSB track that one should give extra attention to and appreciate you think? (So narrow!).

... is a track I'd love to ride, even at my advanced age, lol. Looks fantastic. When I rode Laguna it was the "old" configuration, so T-2 at the bottom of the hill was terrifyingly fast, with what amounted to an adobe wall on the outside. As I recall, it was about the same time that Jon Woo was killed by hitting that bank.

^ Ah! Yes.

I was at Laguna just before the repave to take bumps out for 2005. The outside of the entry to T2 was widened, and off-track was better. When at the GP, watched some from there, Checa overcooked T2 and tumbled in the way I always imagined if I faltered nailing the brake marker...which is a TRICKY spot.

Don't forget the photos showing Marc in the air at very high speed lean over the crest/kink on the "straight" when he got there. 

Better racing elsewhere for the big bikes I think. Viva "Rider's Tracks!"

Cheers Larry an Co

Because I have never figured it out. It seemed so simple as a spectator, but when coming over turn 1 at a track day it was always "what do I do now?" and the answer was different every lap. Double apex? Deep to the gravel and then do a Sykes stop & go? Geez, almost as hard as 7/8/8A.

"Moto3 would be perfect at Laguna Seca."

I raced a contemporary 125 GP bike at Laguna Seca in 2020 and 2021 and can confirm that it felt just about perfect.

Amen Jeff! How did you finish? Is that WERA?

Church is in session. (Except that I weigh 185lbs, love torque, am not that good, and never want to work on an engine). What do you think of the Aprilia RS660? With track suspension of course. Super close to the dream in my head 15-20 yrs ago of swapping a Kawasaki parallel 650 Twin engine into an RS/TZ250. 

Cheers

Highlights were a third place each year in the main class (finished mid-pack in the bump up).  AHRMA.

I love the idea of the 660 on suitable suspenders! Haven't ridden one yet, but a friend picked one up last season and I've been promised a go on it.  Really looking forward to that.  I spent a bit of time on a well sorted RSV4 and if the 660 handles anything like as good, with even less mass, it should be brilliant.

3rd is impressive!

Okay, thoughts and observations? The lower classes have gone through SO much change over the many years. Some more Regional ones have come and gone. There was an RS250 Cup. A Ninja 250/300 Cup. Of course 125GP went Moto3.

"Supersport 300" has rather standard underwhelming 400cc Twins, and that little overachiever 390cc SINGLE KTM (how on Earth does it do that?!). How good a fit is this formula for our Lightweight/Jr Class? Given the reality of bikes sold/avail of course. Or should we say of curse?

HERE is where it gets more interesting, this weird step between 300SS and Supersport, the Middleweight Twins Class. I ran a (cheap/reliable but shoddy) SV650 in it. Yamaha, after the "track only" sales of R6, apparently made a big splash with a Parallel Twin "R7"? 689cc. A bit more power/bit poorer handling alongside the Aprilia 660. Back behind are some Suzuki and Kawasaki 650's, an older and more standard bike breed. In Britain, the Kawi got a big boost by one builder throwing money at the build and getting it right, leading for a time. Apparently this Class is another big "Lightweight-ish" one. And bikes are being bought/built in it. Gone are 68hp stock, now it is 100hp. Handling has improved a bit. The Aprilia, with suspenders, seems the first proper Sportbike with chassis and handling looking like the business to me. Maybe this R7? Thoughts on THIS as a good fit for a solid entry/big lighterweight Class for us?

It looks like it finally isn't just a few of us focused on the The Supersport (middleweight) class. The depressing slow demise of the 600cc inline 4 formula and R6 Cup are just now GONE. Much praise for the Next Generation of Supersport? Gone are 100hp stock bikes, 140hp plus is here. 950cc Twins, 800cc Triples and 600cc Fours (and now GSXR750?!). How is THIS for you?!

So Superbikes went from 160hp to 200hp...and 220HP! NASA electronics/rider aides. At the same time we all apparently stopped buying sportbikes, 600's in particular. A generation ago 600's were the biggest grid and arguably the heart of paddocks. Yes, all Japanese and nearly identical. But a very good formula wasn't it? Or no? Might this brand new melange of bikes BE that most unusual great Class?! The quite old Superbike class of lore is coming back around (749cc 4's/996cc Twins) PLUS Triples. 

The kitchen sink of what is actually being bought. The bikes we want. That maybe we have ALWAYS wanted? HANDLING. Lightweight. Compact. Reliable. 150hp "Goldilocks" may be where consumers and racers ever convene. Question then, what is THIS formula like for you as a Middleweight Class?

-----------

Honda, where have you been? Asleep? Nothing in any of the above classes? Shite in both SBK/MotoGP? 2007 CBR600RR Engine ditched from Moto2? The "new" CBR650 4cyl is standard crap and fits...nowhere. The CBR500 Twin was heavy underpowered garbage. The CBR300 is a cute beginner bike, and worthy of going naked and bopping around kart tracks for fun perhaps? Or not. 

When will you awaken Honda? Maybe now/soon in MotoGP. Special concessions on your Fireblade chassis for WSBK is here. Race again mighty Honda!

Mandate? 1) A Next Gen Supersport. How? A CBR750RR built upon a stiffened 600RR platform plus some electronics. It will be allowed, and you have everything in hand for it. Easy peasy.

2) Beat the R7 with a Twin. You can sell a ton if the weight and price point is there, mimic the Aprilia bike. Sell a naked one too in a "retro" aesthetic.

------

Ducati on the flip side is in it's heyday. Have you ever stopped to wonder the COST DIFFERENCE of a Ducati vs it's competition in SBK/Supersport? Over double isn't it? And good god they are expensive to run too. 

Then they get rulebooks and tires that are quite Red to add insult to injury. Circling back to Classes, on paper the Panigale Twin was going to crush WSS this year. Poor R6 and Kawi 600's were sure to get beaten. Nope. Or, not yet?

My favorite bits are HOW two bikes got homologated - the Triumph Daytona 765 that didn’t exist, and the last minute addition of the GSXR750. Sneaky! The Kitchen Sink is big, and the water is warm -- jump in!! Suzuki/Denning/Yoshimura et al HAVE to be having a good look already. HRC's slumber is surely dreaming of it, how couldn't they? How soon until Chinese CFMoto puts a KTM motor in there? Newer Chinese rival Kove JUST put out an 800cc Twin that makes 105hp and are looking to make R3 and R7 competitors. Orange, why come Duke it out yourself via the Triumph fairing etc loophole? Will wee Aprilia finally find their long awaited Middleweight entrance beckoning? Shrink their 4 Cyl to 750, or (much more likely) push their 660 twin up to 960cc? 

Nature abhors a vacuum. The future is just ahead. Are you hopeful? Interested? Excited even?

-------

Contraversy, or not? Moto2 is really good. More chassis preferred perhaps, but not a big deal that it is nearly a Spec class given its merits - cheap and easy entry, and the 765cc Triple engine is wonderful. Good racing. Yeah?

Cheers Winter Mutterrers!

Hey ‘shrink, I think you’ve nailed the Supersport conundrum without realising it: you mentioned Superbikes went from a 160hp GSXR to a 180hp S1000RR to  200hp Pani V4 in 10 years, and from virtually no electronics to 6 axis IMU’s and cornering abs. Just bonkers.

Yet the trusty Supersport 600 ‘s went pretty much nowhere in the same time. Why would you buy a new R6 when a 5 year old model was virtually the identic…or with the ever increasing emissions gubbins actually slower? The MV was a beautiful breath of fresh air but really only a roadbike, fools with enough money to race one at grassroots level are few and far between.

So it’s the manufacturers who failed to keep up with market expectations in the class, churning out new and not so improved commuter bikes we try to make into race bikes, incredible Superbikes, and putting the Supersport class on the backburner for the last 16 years (thinking an ‘06 R6 is still fairly competitive with a current model)

Throw in the comforting embrace of net-nanny electronics and suddenly 200hp is not so scary…I mean you’d have to be pinned in 4th before the net-nanny goes to bed and you can actually experience the full 200hp. Just awesome for bench racing: you have all that hp to talk up but never get bitten by it. How often are you plus 10krpm in 4th on the road? How many of these big $$$ bikes do you see at the track?

It’s a funny old world paying for something you’re never going to use.

The Reverend Rantalot had left the room, lol.

Thinking a little more...this article is about the economics of gp racing. Economics driven by tickets sold, sponsors acquired, and TV/streaming deals made. If the tech of our favorite racing series is eliminating some of the greatest spectator tracks on the planet (and by that measure I would count Laguna Seca as one of the best, and Mugello, and...well, a lot more), maybe at some point Dorna is going to run out of good (spectator!) tracks. As we know, the bikes are too fast, making many tracks popular with fans obsolete. 

PI is an incredible spectator track which, as David notes, doesn't attract many fans. The racing is fantastic. But I don't think a racing series can survive on great TV viewership and no live fans. Or at least I don't want that. What's the solution?

(Unless they build a track on Antartica I believe I live on the only continent that doesn't host a WSBK race, so yeah, I'm biased)

Neat video, thanks. It's pretty scary; all you can see heading up the hill is sky, and on a fast bike you have to know/guess/remember where to start turning, lol. I remember being there in '83 when Mamola would wheelie from the crest right down to the braking point for T-2 ... awesome.

Why not the U.S.?  Look no further than stick & ball sports! Thus it has always been.

Or travel distances. The most extreme example being that of an East Coast fan having to travel roughly 3000 miles to get to Laguna Seca. COTA cuts that almost in half, but it's still 1700+ miles!

And on an unrelated note, what do you guys think of Dorna changing it's TV package to a 30 euro/month subscription plan? If you spring for the whole season, it's a sizeable increase in cost over their previous package?

I hadn't heard that. My yearly video pass has run right around $160 US per year for the last four years. If it's now going to €30 per month, that nearly doubles my cost to more than $284 US for March through November at today's exchange rate. That's a HUGE increase of over 70%. Big enough it gives me pause on whether I'll continue watching MotoGP as I have no options other than purchasing television service and that would cost me far more than a MotoGP subscription.

I hope that's the case. I logged out, then went to the subscribe page and saw only the 30 euro monthly subscription option. I did not see a one year video pass option in the US last night.

OK, strange. If I'm logged out, only the €30/month option appears. After reading your reply I tried the subscribe page again, this time logged in, and saw the €140/year option as the only option. I also see my auto-renewal is set for €140 on February 11, 2023 (presumably when pre-season testing starts). I suppose I ought to renew for 2023 while I have the chance. Maybe they did away with new yearly subscriptions, but grandfathered in all of us who were already subscribed?

For me, nothing beats Stoner passing Rossi on the outside and Lorenzo on the inside. That turn takes nerve supreme. 

Yes! My thought too. He practiced it once in FP. Pulled it off masterfully. 

Grinning ear to ear after, "I did the Rossi signature line!"  laughing.

Nicky 69 showed everybody how to take T1 in 2005 and 2006. They should name that turn after him. 

Rather prescient (see long post above), Honda just a few hrs ago announced entry into WSS...

Tarran Mackenzie (I like the kid, his older brother and Dad) has signed with MIE Moriwaki Honda for a 2023 World Supersport campaign. They dusted off a (had one, flexy soft frame) CBR600RR to run. Ask yourself, think they plan to campaign that bike long term? It would be back w the Kawi if not just behind. So what are they doing? 

A CBR750RR is coming. I can smell it. They have some naked Twins out now that could possibly also be in for a go, but very unlikely. 

There is still plenty to dig into this time of yr.

"Honda will enter the latest version of its CBR600" Which is basically the 2017 bike with a different instrument panel & bodywork. The 2017 was very similar to the 2013 bike. Tarran on a 10 year old design. Good luck to him. Hope Honda does market a motorcycle more competitive than the old 600 lump.

https://www.motorcyclenews.com/sport/world-superbikes/2022/december/tarr...

Rory Skinner may be in a better situation for 2023, Rory will be more likely to get the cross of Saint Andrew flag flying above the podium somewhere. R.S. has a two year deal in Moto2 so should be able to get on with his racing without too much pressure.

I am confident Rory has the right stuff and will do well.

^ Steve R, indeedy! 2007 bike with tweaks as best I can see. I had one, good ish for street. It was REALLY good 2007 thru 2009 vs the competition? But flexy chassis. My buddy still has it for track days.

Ok, AND isn't it also promising that they are fielding a real team? Call me naive or optimistic, sure, but my tea leaves say a new bike is coming. On some reports, the bike isn't even mentioned at all. Almost as if the old 600RR is a placeholder. The tea leaves also say the bike isn't going to be a good sharp track/race weapon, but hard to see anything from here. Just the extrapolation. Unless...revolution time finally. 

The top non rookie motogp crasher was...Pol tied with Alex Marquez. Honda. No surprises. Moto2 dominating the table of note is Antonelli 22 with Canet and Dixon tied on 20 each. Also no surprises. A very hot and hard season. Not a season to be a rookie. No sign of Acosta in the top crasher table...

Would you believe Maverick Viñales (Aprilia Racing) crashed just twice all season. How about three podiums and only two did not finishes? Still only 27 Viñales could do well in 2023.

What is your prognosis Motoshrink?

A) Plain happy we are "sharing time in Krop's virtual living room" together here. Cheers friends! Hope to see everyone, yes even you other person with whom I don't get along easily. Grateful for mid December moto musings.

B) Vinales - a really good thing has happened for him, he is surrounded by a European-style Team. Excellent relationally, esp w Asparagus. The bike is great! 2nd Team, 4 excellent riders. BUT...

C) Enough data over time for us re Maverick. Fastest person out there! For a couple Rounds. When every wee particle of bike, conditions, track, and a sacrificed live chicken point his way. I like the guy! Mercurial isn't going away, is it? 

D) Oliveira is my Man in Black.

E) Loving the whole Aprilia program. Bought the jersey, wearing it proudly. 2023 Blackattack Fan.

F) Here comes SE Asian Black fans? Spain has something to adopt too that isn't Honda? Maybe you have joined the party?

You folks have forced some random off-season thoughts to the surface...

Yeah, have to admit I have never disliked Aprilia--that's the best praise I can summon. Seems both their riders don't have that cutthroat approach to racing, too much going on in their heads to focus externally 100%. As an underfunded underdog I have rarely rooted against them. But then, my dislike is usually directed at riders, not manufacturers. HRC being at the top of that list.

I have to commit to a top 5 + independent choice before the last test. Last year I picked Dovi just because I wanted to pick Dovi...this year have to be more cutthroat like Marc! Did I really type that? Aside from alien riding skill I don't ever want to be like Marc. Leaning towards a repeat, the current champion able to #gofree without all of Ducati texting him every five minutes. We'll see.

Happy Holidays Mutterers!

But fortunately we can go on talking motorracing here. I just don't see Maverick succeeding over a full season on any bike. He'll probably win a few races, but when his morning coffee is slightly cold he will struggle again that day. Compare that to the adaptability of MM93 or FQ20. I like Aprilia very much, hope to see Oliveira doing well and get the factory ride in 2025...and maybe Raul will start to live up to his promise...

Underdog status is always something to root for, but I can't say I'm a fan of any of their riders. Asparagus gets too excited, Maverick is an emotional bomb waiting to happen, Fernandez seems like an entitled little weenie, and somehow I just can't warm up to Olivera. Good luck to the team, all the same.

According to Wikipedia it is defined as "Sportswashing is a term used to describe the practice of individuals, groups, corporations, or governments using sports to improve reputations tarnished by wrongdoing."

It seems to me that this term can apply to any state sponsored event (which is quite a lot considering stadiums and circuits around the world are built and maintained at least in part on public funds) depending on ones viewpoint of what "wrongdoing" is. The term is quite subjective.

Objectively it would appear that international sporting events are a priority for Qatar and they certainly have the money to attract a return on the investment that hosting such events can bring. Interesting to see if this continues or if we're seeing the peak.

With an expansion of the races in recent years there should be some evidence of an expanded calendar working for dorna or not. A continued push for expansion seems to indicate it is working. I do not see that we have info on dorna's financials since the 2019 transfer between bridgepoint's funds gave us a glimpse. Seems like too much speculation to me. 

Time for some rubber on pavement. Personally I think the best thing they could do for me would be to run those disappointingly slow electric bikes during the off season as a separate series. It would at least give me a reason to pay attention to the series and keep me entertained during the winter. It would also help the series to not have 60hp moto3 bikes piloted by 15 year olds blowing out their lap times right in front of everyone's face.