Saturday’s race will be just that, with the awarding of points, a podium and trophies but will manufacturers, teams and sponsors find the money for the riders?
Listen up. MotoGP will look a lot different next year, as it introduces the much debated but now confirmed Sprint Race. This means that, if all goes to plan, the chequered flag will be waved twice per weekend. Saturday’s race will also involve a podium, the awarding of trophies and the assigning of points, which means that it will also impact on the classification and, perhaps, on bank accounts too. Why ‘perhaps’? Well, we’ve spoken to some of those involved, all of whom request maximum discretion, which we of course respect.
There you have it. Without going into too much detail. Every finish line is correlated with the contract stipulated between rider, team, manufacturer and sponsors. Understood. So this explains how, in the case of a win, the rider enjoys some well-deserved prizes – lavished on them by the manufacturer, the technical suppliers and the organisers. Also understood. So where’s the problem? Isn't it simply a case of paying the actors and the show goes on? Well, it appears it’s a little more complicated than that.
Try convincing the various manufacturers to change a deeply rooted vision. At a time where the optimisation of costs is something of a mantra, try requesting additional funds to put into racing. Perhaps you might persuade them, and we would congratulate you for it. But without naming names, we know for sure that various manufacturers are in favour of the Sprint Race, as long as it doesn’t lead to an increase in their budgets. In their opinion, the Grand Prix is the Grand Prix, which already costs.
You’ll say - from the sponsors, from the contributions of Dorna and IRTA, from the visibility guaranteed by such a large-scale event. And, as the old saying goes, ‘two is better than one’, right? Well, we’ve spoken to managers who admit they don’t have the cheques to hand over as Sprint Race prizes. Sunday is one thing, but adding Saturday is quite another. How would we do it?
In a case where rider X scores a podium, sponsor Y – in accordance with the contract- must pay the calculated price. OK, but calculated on what basis? The Grand Prix is on Sunday, the Sprint Race is half the distance of the Grand Prix, so is it worth half the prize? Perhaps, if the funds are there. Then let’s consider a supplier - of helmets, leathers, whatever you like. Your rider has won the short race, do you want to give him a nice prize? Sure, we’d like too, but we’ll need to see if we are in a position to do so. This is the answer they give us, but we can’t name names of course.
Little changes for us really, aside for the fact that we enjoy double the action and excitement. Once seated at our desks, the cost of a Sprint Race for us is exactly as it would be if there were no Sprint Race. If anything, with the TV press conferences, we’ll enjoy heightened visibility. We will continue to promote the Sprint Race responsibly and, in reference to the aforementioned doubts, if there are positive responses from staff, we too might ask for an additional fee.
Traslated by Heather Watson