MotoGP: Is it still a sport?

MotoGP isn’t a sport anymore. Now it’s just a show for TV companies, that provide most of the revenue to Dorna. But if a race is not won by the most capable rider, or by the fastest one, we should wonder why it happens.

RIDICULOUS – Jack Miller, the poleman, is the only rider (out of 24) who chose the right tyres. If the way the race started had followed the rules and the common sense, the Aussie would have won Argentinian GP. And this is how it should have gone. But, instead, he was fooled by a start procedure we had never seen before and we haven’t understood yet how it could be invented so quickly. Some riders ask for more anti-doping controls…Well, they should involve half of the people in the paddock, including the Race Direction. The mess made by the “marshals”, who are actually commanded by someone that should manage just TV rights, was just the beginning. With a normal start procedure, Marc Marquez wouldn’t have “turned off” his Honda and so he wouldn’t have got a penalty. And he wouldn’t have needed to do such a furious and thoughtless recovery to have the control of the race back in his hands. If we look at the best 20 laps of each rider, Marquez was the fastest by more than six seconds, in spite of the chaotic recovery, the overtakes, the contacts and so on. Final result: who was supposed to win (Miller or Marquez) didn’t do it. Is it normal?

SHOW – Argentinian GP wasn’t something isolated. You have to get used to it, because Dorna, the Spanish society that manages all the most important motorcycle racing championships, has always said that races “must be exciting, with many overtakes, many different winners. A big show”. In World Superbike, where Jonathan Rea dominated the past three seasons, they decided to lower rpm limit on all the Kawasaki machines. Last year, after the first two rounds, Rea had won 4 races out of 4, but this year, as a result of the new regulation, he managed to win just one. In the first two races Marc Marquez, who is the fastest rider in MotoGP (and maybe the fastest ever…), collected just 20 points out of 50 after the 2nd place in Qatar and the 18th in Argentina, caused by two penalties. The next race will be held in Texas, where Marquez has always won, and this means that he would have been leading the championship by many points, if he had won in Argentina. Of course it’s just an hypothesis, but it’s true that the championship risked to have a certain result after just 3 GPs. Now we have not just many riders separated by few points, but also the restart of the rivalties and hostilities that attracted the interest of the “general public” in 2015. Strange, right?

MONOPOLY – When FIM managed everything, the marshals were chosen by each national federation and so we had different marshals at each GP. Some were good, some were very bad. Even in those times arguable decisions were made, but, at least, nobody suspected that it was done in order to make races more exciting. Now yes, it happens. Pay attention to how it started: how could FIM sell both MotoGP and Superbike to the same society? How is it possible that now, in motorcycle racing, we have a monopoly for what concerns TV and commercial rights, in defiance of every international regulation about competition? And, after selling the management of the championship as well, how is it possible that FIM doesn’t consider more profitable to make an auction every three or four years, like in all the “normal” sports? FIM signed with Dorna agreements whose deadline is unknown, but it looks like they will last till 2039, when maybe we’ll see motorcycles racing on Mars. Is it normal?

YAMAHA VS HONDA – Will the manufacturers like this in the long run? We should ask ourselves this question. If races become a show whose rules change time after time, why should manufacturers invest money in development, organisation and riders? They’re rivals, but on issues like this they all agree. For example, what will Yamaha think about the fact that it’s a friend of the rider who decides who can enter the box, instead of the person supposed to do it?


Paolo Gozzi

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Editor in chief: Paolo Gozzi, italian journalist engaged in motorcycling from early ’80.

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