Film Star Antonio Banderas To Run MotoGP Team?
Actors and racing are a potent combination, though usually a mess of contracts prevent any active involvement by the former in the latter, for fear any injuries incurred the actors involved might either delay expensive film production schedules, or worse, terminate an actor's career permanently.
There have been honorable exceptions, of course, the most famous being Paul Newman, whose greatest racing achievement was a 2nd place in the Le Mans 24 hour endurance car race. But usually, all actors can do is to run a team, as the least dangerous way to be involved in a sport they love, without risking injury.
Now, another famous face is to be added to their ranks: Spanish sports daily AS.com is reporting that Antonio Banderas is engaged in trying to get the finances together which would allow him to run a team in the 125 and 250cc championships, as well as the Spanish and European 125 championship. The Hollywood heart-throb is currently in talks with a number of parties (including the Austrian sports betting company Interwetten.com) to obtain the estimated 6 million euros which the plans would require.
The Antonio Banderas Racing Team would be run on a day-to-day basis by Manuel Morente, one of the men credited with finding and mentoring current 250 star Alvaro Bautista. The team is said to be looking at a couple of young Spanish hopefuls to ride the bikes, along with an Italian. No names are known as yet, which AS.com puts down to negotiations being in a very sensitive stage.
If Banderas and Morente are unable to raise the 6 million euros which an assault on the world championship would require, the Spanish star could instead choose to contest the Spanish and European 125 championships instead. This would cost a more affordable 1 million euros, a sum which it would be much easier to raise.
With Banderas being a huge global star, raising that kind of money should be possible, if not exactly trivial. But more importantly, having a big name like Banderas associated with motorcycle racing will help to raise the profile of the sport worldwide. And that's a good thing for everybody involved in motorcycle racing.