Ezpeleta: "Márquez did what he thought he had to do"

Dorna's CEO at Europa Press Breakfasts: "That he was wrong or not is very easy to say later. I am 100% in agreement with what he decides now."


"It doesn't surprise me at all because everyone has a free way of expressing their opinion and I wouldn't even call them envious". Carmelo Ezpeleta has been the protagonist today of the Europa Press Sports Breakfast. The CEO of Dorna has responded to journalists' questions just eleven days before the start of a new MotoGP, Moto2 and Moto3 season with the first of the two scheduled appointments at the Qatar circuit, but beforehand he gave a speech at the who explained how it was possible for the very complicated 2020 season, the first of the pandemic, to go ahead, how he hopes the 2021 season will be and in which he thanked the CSD and the Qatari government for allowing a large part of the World Cup paddock to be there vaccinated.

"I will start by talking about this last year that we have all lived dangerously. In Qatar, on March 8 of last year, we had the first impact of what was the pandemic and we could not do the MotoGP race, although we did the Moto2 and Moto3 because they were already there. Then we postponed the one in Thailand thinking that we could start in Jerez, because it was later, but when we returned to Spain we realized the seriousness of the pandemic and we went into shock. The first thing we did was get down to it. worse, which was not to do any race ", Ezpeleta began by saying to then put the situation of the so black panorama that was coming and how he found a solution:" We have 4,000 people who live from the World Cup and, without races, the private teams would disappear and neither there would be a championship in 2021. The shareholders of Dorna, Bridgepoint and the Public Pension Fund of Canada authorized me to subsidize the salaries of the teams and we went with the factories, the FIM, the federations, circuits and others to make a championship. We advanced the payments to the teams so that they could meet their expenses ".

The CEO of Dorna explained that they had three possible plans designed: "A: a championship of 15 races starting in July. B: going to two or three circuits at the end of the year to do 10 races. C: In a single circuit at the end of the year, racing Sunday and Wednesday for five weeks. " Plan A went ahead, and Ezpeleta reminded who helped him: "It would hardly have been possible without the help of the CSD. We spoke with the Council and created a protocol. It was created in Spain and agreed with F1, which followed our protocol. FIM , factories and equipment gave us their confidence. Spain and the Spanish circuits had a vital importance that the rest of the countries and circuits appreciated. We presented this protocol to the rest of the countries and all of them, with very few changes, pushed ahead "

Everything happened to run without an audience, with the loss that this entails in every way: "Without an audience, the circuits could not pay the fixed rate they always pay and we pay the teams the same, as if the races had been held with an audience" . And regarding the protocol, which he still maintains, he says: "We are from 3,500 to 4,000 people in the paddock and we could not all go. We reduced the number of people to 1,400, with a protocol that required a PCR before leaving the country of origin and another on the circuit. The saddest thing is the lack of public and people like the written press, who could not move around the paddock because they would have compromised others. We have no news that anyone has been contaminated by the MotoGP family. Now we are in the same situation as last year, with the advantage of knowing what to do and with the measures of last year. The objective of this year is to have a normal calendar, from March to November. Last year football set the tone for us , because when they started we threw ourselves, and we must also highlight the great work of LaLiga, Javier (Tebas) and CSD ".

Final conclusion: "If something good leaves us this horrible year, it is that we are much more united. The return to normality will be gradual and according to the authorities of each country." And special thanks: "Qatar, seeing that we were going to be there for five weeks, offered us the possibility of being vaccinated even though it will not have an impact in Qatar, because the second dose will be given to us almost when we leave, so getting vaccinated will do the trick. for the rest of the year in the rest of the countries. We must thank Qatar for his gesture ".

From this last point a question arose from AS. Are you surprised that there is criticism of the pilots for having been vaccinated in Qatar and what does it say to those envious? His answer: "It does not surprise me at all because everyone has a free way of expressing their opinion and I would not even call them envious. Simply, what vaccination in Qatar does is improve the health of a group of people who travel around the world and who would probably polluting. Last year there was the case of a rider who was fighting for the Moto3 title, Arbolino, who traveled near a person from Le Mans to his home who later tested positive and the Italian authorities told us that he had to be confined . Now we save that Arbolino can be contaminated or that he contaminates others. There is no doubt. Instead of doing any harm. We do a favor to all countries, with a group of people who travel to 19 GGPP do it in a safer. And I admit the criticisms, as always. "Regarding the fact that the entire MotoGP grid except Nakagami has been vaccinated, he says: "In no case can you force yourself to be vaccinated. And I don't know who has been vaccinated nor do we have the right to say so. he". Having transferred the possibility of the vaccine to the Olympic movement, Ezpeleta is clear that it should be carried out: "It is logical to do everything possible as long as it is done correctly. It would be a tremendous catastrophe not to do the Games. To vaccinate them, it is an obligation for Humanity to do so. Sport is much more than gentlemen running. Soccer gave tremendous joy to people who were sunk in their homes just by being able to watch their team on TV. Sport is a social good ".

Going back to last year's storm, recalls: "There were two days when we thought that the championship could not be done. The advantage of MotoGP is that the structure is very good. There is one owner of the rights, which is the FIM, With which it is very easy to talk, and the same with the teams, which is IRTA, and the six factories, the MSMA. They called me asking and we started to think things. We were able to do 15. The sports part was very important and to know how many races we would have and try to comply with them. We also took economic measures and spoke with the manufacturers to freeze the engines and the aerodynamics, except for Aprilia, which has concessions. The moment of discouragement was two or three days. Then each one worked from home and we did experts in telematics ".

About how much Dorna is worth today, she does not put a price: "I decided not to talk about figures. I don't want it to be titled 'Dorna has lost so much.' We will talk about figures. For me it is worth a lot, because it is the work of some people that we started in 1992 ".

A recurring theme at Breakfast was Marc Márquez: "First of all, I have to thank Repsol very much for being so linked to motorcycling. I appreciate Marc very much, like all riders, I wish him the best and I don't I put no pressure. Let him do what he considers. Last year he did what he thought he had to do and whether he was wrong or it is not very easy to say it later. I am one hundred percent in agreement with what he decides and I hope he returns when you think you are fit, which is what I think you will do ".

On whether Marc or Valentino Rossi weighs more in the championship, he says: "I don't make those evaluations. They both weigh a lot. Valentino is tall, but he says he is made of titanium. Valentino has represented and represents the World Championship in an incredible way and Marc is eight times champion. Both are very important. " And regarding whether a peace between the two is possible: "They are older. That is something for them to decide. They and I know what happened."Regarding a more even championship without Marc, Ezpeleta believes that "it is different, but Marc was injured while running. He hit the wheel in the humerus in a race crash. I place a lot of value on the championship that all the drivers did last year" .

On a personal level, Carmelo had a beautiful moment last year when the grid and the teams gave him a surprise last year on the grid in Portimao. He remembers it like this: "The very scoundrels, including my son, who is the sports director, Manel Arroyo and the others, didn't tell me anything and when I got to the grill I didn't know what was happening. It was a very exciting moment, for me. And for all the people in the paddock, for what they experienced. A few days ago a person with whom we spoke a lot and we encouraged each other died from coronavirus. It is Fausto Gresini and, if we had already had the vaccine, it would not have happened. The more There is security, much better, always. And Rossi took it last year without knowing where ".

Speaking of champions who are no longer there, the name of Ángel Nieto comes out. He does not forget: "Ángel was the pioneer, the one who started. He was from my generation and, above all, a friend. Now it seems easier. Arriving in 1992 with a Spanish company was not a bed of roses and Ángel told them to Everyone who listened to us, we knew what we were doing. I miss him a lot, but you have to be on the job every day ".

On important agreements for the future of the championship: "The Moto3, Moto2 and MotoGP teams will have the conditions that we had already agreed before the pandemic. We have already signed with four factories for 2026, because we have five-year terms. , but we will sign before Jerez. We will continue from the 22nd to the 26th with the same technical regulations as now so as not to charge the costs. Yes, we will study the technical regulations from 26 ".

Related to the 19 races scheduled for 2021: "Yesterday I was talking to the people of the Las Americas circuit. Right now, the only thing left to know is if we can go to Asia at the end of the year. If those races are held, Argentina and America will be made the following year. There is also Indonesia as a substitute. Our commitment is to do at least 18 ". And on the four Spanish for 2022: "Of the four Spanish, we have already renewed with Valencia, agreement with Aragon, finalizing agreement with Jerez and we are talking with Catalonia. From 22 to 26 Dorna guarantees a minimum of three races in the Peninsula counting Portimao , which could be more. We cannot keep the current ones plus Portugal. Hungary will not enter in the 22nd yet. We are very dedicated to the Spanish circuits and they understand it, because we cannot do more than 22 tests from 22 to 26. We'll see the calendar for the 22nd, to be published in August ".

On the expected return of the public to the stands: "Game by game, as the football people say. Grand Prix to Grand Prix. We do not know and we do not want to give false hope. The public and the bubble have no connection. I have heard that in Qatar we will have 30% of spectators, but that is something that Qatar organizes. Spectators are the problem of each organizer. We want to be very cautious and we do not want to force anyone. The one who presses is the local organizer ".

On what he saw in the MotoGP tests: "I am very happy because the competitiveness continues and the comments were positive in all the brands. The Ducati and the Yamaha are doing very well, Rossi with positive comments, Pol as well as I expected with the Honda, Suzuki is still putting away the clothes and Aprilia is happy because it is going well with the concessions ".

The economic impact of Covid-19: "Without the contribution of the organizers' fixed, the impact has been very strong, fat, but we can bear thanks to the strength of Dorna and its shareholders. It will also have an impact this year. We will recover when normalcy returns. We have been since '92, 30 seasons, and we hope to continue more. We spread the word about the World Cup and our obligation is to have a good championship. Dorna is special because the important thing is that the championship is good, although economic is also important. "

And about the bridges with F1 and the possibility in the past that he would stop there: "No, that was talked about in the press, but I am very well in Dorna. There has always been a very close relationship and in 1992 and 93 We were partners with Bernie Ecclestone, with a company that we later bought. The relationship continues with him. And now, Stefano Domenicalli, has a very good relationship with Campinoti, from Pramac, and with me. There is more connection than ever with F1, in terms of calendar, television and broadcast ".

Photos from as.com
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