Ezpeleta: "No Need To Change Schedule At Qatar"

At the last preseason test of the year at Qatar, run under the floodlights to allow the riders to get used to the conditions, five riders went down in a period of thirty minutes late on in the test, as dew forming on the track made conditions treacherous. After that test, several riders called for the time of the MotoGP race to be brought forward, from 11pm local time to 9 or 10.

In the pre-race press conference, Valentino Rossi repeated his preference for bringing the race forward, a suggestion which received the support of both Casey Stoner and Nicky Hayden later that evening.

But at a press conference held to open the Qatar MotoGP round, attended by Carmelo Ezpeleta, the CEO of Dorna, and Nasser Al-Attiyah, head of the Qatari motorsports federation, the Dorna CEO was not convinced a change would be necessary. Ezpeleta felt that conditions had changed since the last test, obviating the need to change.

"When the humidity happened at the last test," Ezpeleta told the press conference, "we talked with Nasser, and he told us it was not normal. Yesterday night, at the time of the race, we went to look at the track, myself with Nasser and other people, and it was perfectly dry, and is not now any risk to the schedule. Tonight, we will have another look, but with the temperature and the humidity we have, there is no need to change the schedule." 

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It may seem realistic For Carmelo and his pal Nasser, who obviously hasn't got a vested inerest, to have a couple of looks..but it's not quite the same view as Rossi et al have, scraping their knees at the same turn doing 100mph.

I understand this year it is to close and difficult to change, what with TV..but for next year they ought to have a look..

So is moisture forming there this weekend more or less normal than it raining in the desert? Coz that happened last year.

that the world of television broadcasters will receive the race at the time Dorna said they would. Good 'ol Caramello, his vision extends to the end of his bank balance and no further.

Like it or not, it may be thanks to people like Ezpeleta that we still enjoy MotoGP the way we do, not as so many other racing series that have suffered with the crisis. Just have a look at F1 and imagine if MotoGP became something like that...

To be honest, it's Rossi's job to ride the bike, and he may be the best doing so, but it's Ezpeleta's job to ensure that MotoGP remains a good business, and it's that business that ultimately pays Rossi's bill at the end of the year, and that makes it possible for you to chear for him. So to me, the least of things you should do is pay some respect to the good old Carmelo; I'm pretty sure he knows much better than all of you how to take care of "his riders" ...

That's not to say he can't make mistakes, just as even Rossi falls from time to time, sometimes losing the championship at the same time. As I said, you don't have to love the business man, but a tiny bit of respect wouldn't harm.

When Business overtakes safety. Quite possibly, nothing will go wrong, no one will crash at turn 2 (due to dew anyway) and that will be that. But look at the other end of the spectrum. One of the top riders crashes at turn 2 because of dew and falls badly and is injured for part or all of the season. Then that "Business" that Carmelo has chose over safety will come to naught as there are quite a few followers of our sport who will turn the telly off if a certain yellow rider for example wasn't there.

As you say, he (probably) knows better then us how to take care fo the riders, but when it's the riders calling for a change due to safety reasons and Carmelo ignores that for "business" reasons, that's a stretch I think.

Keeping the riders healthy is very important for Carmelo, because it's essential to his business.

Point is, riders are bitching based on past year experience, but they have still not raced this year. Point is also riders like to bitch, but they enjoy getting paid like very few people get paid in the world. One of the reasons it's like that it's because they do something little people are capable/willing to, and that's only possible because they take risks very few of us would be ready to take. Point is Ezpeleta has acknowledge the problem pointed by the riders, and he is the one there checking out the track conditions right now. Well, I don't think he wouldn't keep the schedule unless he determined it was safe, specially after the riders complaints. Point is, he knows better than both you and me, has all the info with him, and so far has been very good at managing the series.

So, as said, show some respect for the guy; if Rossi was riding his bike at home with nobody watching you couldn't care less about how good/fast he is.

And of course, if Carmelo makes the wrong decision and you watch riders going down like flies on Sunday race because of track conditions that could have been evitable by racing earlier, then please come and bitch as much as you want.

Firstly, riders are not bitching. They are voicing quite valid concerns about dew on the track that they experienced three (3) weeks ago...not one year.

As for getting paid that much money...I do seem to remember a certain rider by the name of Ben Spies getting rebuffed by Suzuki for the amount of money that he asked for in relation to what he was getting paid in (what used to be) the AMA, a national series. But that is a moot point. Regardless of how much one gets paid, there should be a certain amount of safety that can be expected from ones "employer". Obviously, in racing there are always going to be huge amounts of risks, but all precautions should be taken to reduce those risks where possible. If there is a possibility of reducing the risk of 3 or 4 riders crashing out of the first race of the season, then that should be seriously looked into.

In my opinion, Ezpeleta is not taking the concerns of the riders seriously enough. Most of those riders who have voiced concerns (not bitched as I see it) are on the GP Safety panel are they not? Should that not count for something?

Why should we have to wait until riders do go down on Sunday before the concerns voiced (or bitching as you like to put it) are valid? Ever heard the sayings, "Precaution is better then a cure" or "Shutting the gate after the horse has bolted"? And as Irongut said, "So is moisture forming there this weekend more or less normal than it raining in the desert? Coz that happened last year." If you can negate any chance of dew forming on the track by racing a few hours earlier for the peace of mind that no one is going to suddenly lose the front, I reckon that's a winner.

Sounds to me like Ezpeleta and Ron Walker have been in the same classes.