MotoGP chief explains why a popular F1 is good for them

Thomas Maher
MotoGP's Joan Mir in action in 2022.

MotoGP's Joan Mir in action in 2022.

MotoGP’s Carmelo Ezpeleta believes Formula 1’s current popularity can only be good news for the top-level class of motorbike racing.

Ezpeleta, CEO of Dorna Sports, has said MotoGP’s objective is to keep gaining popularity as F1 helps boost the popularity of circuit-based motorsport, but warned against trying to follow too closely in Formula 1’s footsteps.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with the Spanish subsidiary of Motorsport.com, Ezpeleta spoke about how he felt F1 is currently on an upward swing when it comes to popularity.

“At the show level, F1 is number one in the motorsport spectrum,” Ezpeleta said.

“Our obligation is to gain popularity, but without F1 being the reference. That F1 is popular helps us a lot. It is true that they have grown a lot lately, and I don’t think it is exclusively due to Drive to Survive, although it has clearly helped.

“My opinion is the popularity is going in waves. Recently, F1 was in trouble and we were the best of the best. What you have to try is to focus on yours and work to the best of your ability.”

MotoGP are set to follow F1’s example by introducing sprint races at each event in 2023, expanding even further upon the idea than F1 – which is set to host six such sprint events next season.

Ezpeleta explained the reason for jumping head-first into the idea, once it had been agreed upon.

“From the first moment we were clear that they should be incorporated into all the races,” he explained. “If your reason for it being [introduced] is to give a boost to the activity on Saturdays, you have to standardise it.

“In addition, this new format has another effect, on Sunday. With the disappearance of the Moto2 and Moto3 warm-ups, and the reduction of the MotoGP warm-up, a window opens in which more promotional activities can be carried out with the riders. Both on circuits and on television.

“This initiative has been received with great enthusiasm by local promoters and operators, and what you cannot do is offer it to some great prizes and not to others.”

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