Ezpeleta Wants Separate Satellite Championship

A lack of oversight has been blamed by many for the outbreak of the financial crisis, and in response, there has been a deafening clamor for a vast tightening of the rules. As a major victim of the credit crunch, MotoGP has joined in, with an almost unceasing stream of proposals for new rules all aimed at cutting costs and saving the sport.

Along with the more straightforward cost-cutting measures reported yesterday, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta has also put forward a series of proposals aimed at assisting the satellite teams to attract both sponsors and talent. According to GPOne.com, he presented these proposals to the managers of the satellite teams (all except for the Nieto brothers, who run Sete Gibernau's team) in Bologna on Tuesday.

The most significant change proposed is the institution of a separate championship for the satellite teams. The championship would have an official status, with its own podium ceremony at every race and a separate team championship as well. The winner of the title would be able to call himself World Champion. The aim is to give the satellite teams more exposure, as under the current rules, their chances at a podium - let alone a championship - are very slim indeed. By setting up a separate championship and a separate podium ceremony, Ezpeleta hopes to make satellite teams more attractive for potential sponsors.

Though in itself more exposure for satellite teams would be very welcome, merely adding a separate championship won't change the TV coverage of the sport. TV directors will continue to concentrate on the most important battle, the battle at the front for the title of MotoGP World Champion. And though a separate podium ceremony would mean extra TV time for the satellite teams, this ceremony will be the first to be cut by most broadcasters, many of whom don't even show the normal podium ceremony as it overruns the slot provided for MotoGP.

Another suggestion under discussion would be to force rookies entering the class to join satellite teams rather than going straight onto the factory bikes. Under this proposal, Jorge Lorenzo and Dani Pedrosa would not have been allowed to go straight to the Fiat Yamaha and Repsol Honda team, but would first have had to spend a year with the Tech 3 Yamaha team or the Gresini Honda team. To keep this affordable, a salary cap would probably have to be placed on rookies joining satellite teams, as even the increased sponsorship potential offered by a big name rider may not outweigh the added burden of their salary.

Along the same lines, Ezpeleta urged the satellite teams to get involved in the new Moto2 class, destined to replace the 250s in 2011. The benefits would be manifold: the satellite teams could use the new class as a feeder class, and a place to ready young prodigies for the step up into MotoGP. This could help younger riders resist the lure of the factory teams, and give them a natural career path offering a progression up through the ranks.

Of course, as Alberto Cani of GPOne.com points out, this would also serve Dorna's purposes all too elegantly: Carmelo Ezpeleta wants 26 bikes on the grid of the new Moto2 class, and if all six satellite teams were to set up two-rider Moto2 teams - either of their own free will or under duress from Dorna - that would put 12 bikes on the grid already.

It's clear from the proposals that Dorna recognizes the problems which face satellite teams in MotoGP, and that they are desperate to do something about it. The tragedy is that they don't seem willing to do the one thing that might actually make racing cheaper again: drastically lower the cost of producing horsepower.

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Often the best course of action is to shore up what you have and settle in to weather it out. THings may get bad but as long as you ensure you don't close down completely you can survive to enjoy growth during beter times.

Ezpeleta is a perfect example of a hand-on CEO - one who is involved in all decisions and no changes happen without his prompting. This is exactly the type of CEO that fails when a company enters unknown territory. If you rely on the expertise of a single individual, when that expertise is exhausted, the organization begin trying things haphazardly. Additionally Ezpeleta has a manic approach to management that and when he encounters an issue he begins throwing everything at it in hope that something will stick. Finally, Ezpeleta does nothing to measure the success of past efforts and initiatives - what worked before and how well did it work?

When it comes to planning fro adversity, more is not better.

of course, factories would be suppliers of engines and technology...but like much of the F1 field and all of NASCAR (gasp!), it should be based primarily on trade-team representation.

it's more accessible to more teams, and the factories still get to showcase their products and brand.

If any change is needed, why not simply accept that 800 cc didn't work, say so (oh hubris!), and go back to the old 990 format? That will neatly address the issue of making power at a lower cost.
But in the midst of all this uncertainty to now propose radical change to yet another series format (250cc). Phew! Does Ezpelata have god on his side?
And if change must come, then Moto2 half a 990, restricted to 2 cylinders? Is that workable?

Caramello MAY not be panicking, but this has the outline, verbal utterances and perambulative motions suggestive of a duck.

We already have a Rookie of the Year award, and perhaps there is room for a 'satellite team of the year' award as well, with a hefty Dorna financial reward to accompany it, but to ban 'rookies' from factory bikes is ludicrous. Part of the excitement of every new season is watching the progress of the stars from other classes and at least in some cases seeing what they bring to the table. Example: the Rossi / Toseland battle at Phillip Island last year, where the 'rookie' (and reigning WSBK world champion, lest we forget) finally got to strut his stuff. And what if a Rossi, a Stoner, a Pedrosa or a Capirossi is injured - no wildcard replacements? No more also the fun of seeing the sort of 'old bull - young bull' team competition of Lorenzo vs. Rossi?

The best and brightest from ANY class usually have some sort of personal sponsorship they would hope to carry with them and that sponsorship might not be enthralled at being placed in the 'kindergarten class' bracket - even if it is more perception than fact. With - let's face it - the immediate financial security of WSBK seemingly in better shape than MotoGp, all it would take is for the next generation of reasonably charismatic racers - the Simoncellis, Bautistas, de Meglios etc. and their sponsors to decide that WSBK is better 'value for money' to see MotoGp suddenly appear to be an anachronism peopled by the fading ghosts of the finest racers heading into the twilight of meaningful competition.

Caramello may feel he is answering a question but it isn't the important question of the moment.

Its sort of like saying titles for everyone, such a title would be great for 125 and 250 because as seen in the BSB cup it it gives a reward to riders with less powerful bikes that would normally straggle to get points against the big teams.

But as motogp stands, 15 riders out of 17 starters getting points is ridiculous enough, 6 out of these 17 getting a trophy is too much.

How does the Rookie recruiting rule work for factory teams such as Suzuki? Will there be a provision allowing manufacturers with only 2 machines the chance to recruit from outside the class? I guess the loophole is to give the rider a one off ride at some point during the season, no more rookie status, seems like an easy if not expensive way around it.

What about a new manufacturer? There would need to be a provision otherwise they would need to choose 2 riders which are currently outside MotoGP (or former GP expats).

I guess we'll have to wait for clarification.