As we saw just recently, the MotoGP calendar is drawn up with great care, to avoid clashes with the schedule of Formula One. The first draft of the 2011 MotoGP schedule underwent major changes, after several races on the F1 calendar were moved about. In general, MotoGP tries to plan their races so that they are in a different timezone to Formula One, so that the races don't overlap and MotoGP loses its TV coverage to F1. That is not always possible, however, and sometimes, Dorna has to get creative to avoid a schedule.
This year, that scheduling sees the MotoGP round at Sepang fall in the same weekend as the F1 GP in Japan, forcing the MotoGP race to be run later in the afternoon than its usual 2pm (local time) slot. The MotoGP race is scheduled to begin at 4pm local time, to avoid the clash with Formula 1 in Japan. That decision has not found favor with everyone, however: At Sepang, Valentino Rossi was openly critical of Dorna for scheduling the start so late. The problem, Rossi pointed out, was that by starting the race at 4pm, it almost certainly guaranteed that the race would be run in the tropical afternoon storms. "Everyone knows that after about 3:30 here it is almost certain to rain," Rossi told the Italian-speaking media. "At 2pm, it's 90% certain not to rain, but at 4pm, it's the same 90% certainty that it will rain, it's really stupid."
Rossi's ire was directed at Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, who he blamed for not trying to persuade F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to be a little more considerate of MotoGP. "We always bow down to the power of Formula 1, while they don't care about us at all," Rossi said. Asked if he had spoken to Ezpeleta about the matter, Rossi confirmed he had, but had not had much luck on the issue. "I've told Carmelo many times that I will talk to Bernie (Ecclestone) if he wants me to, but he just pulled a face as if to say Bernie doesn't care what MotoGP does in the slightest. F1 has more viewers on Italian TV."
Discussions of Formula One inevitably brought up the question of Rossi's own future once he decides to retire from MotoGP. One journalist turned the problem of Formula One's dominance over MotoGP around, pointing out that it could work in Rossi's favor if he decides to go to F1 after retiring. "Now I don't think that will happen," Rossi replied. If Rossi is to switch to four wheels after his career in MotoGP, it will almost certainly be to the World Rally Championship, rather than Formula One as so many people - including F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone - had hoped.