MotoMatters.com is delighted to feature the work of iconic MotoGP writer Mat Oxley. Oxley is a former racer, TT winner and highly respected author of biographies of world champions Mick Doohan and Valentino Rossi, and currently writes for Motor Sport Magazine, where he is MotoGP correspondent. We are featuring sections from Oxley's blogs, which are posted in full on the Motor Sport Magazine website.
Why MotoGP should get even better
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.
“We always tell Dorna, if you give more help to the strong and the rich and you give less help to the weak and the poor, then you will create a performance gap,” says Poncharal, who is also IRTA president. “Then the grid and the racing will look bad because some teams will struggle and they’ll be nowhere in the races.”
Read the rest of Mat Oxley's blog on the Motor Sport Magazine website.