Rossi Critical Of Late Start For MotoGP Race At Sepang

As we saw just recently, the MotoGP calendar is drawn up with great care, to avoid clashes with the schedule of Formula One. The first draft of the 2011 MotoGP schedule underwent major changes, after several races on the F1 calendar were moved about. In general, MotoGP tries to plan their races so that they are in a different timezone to Formula One, so that the races don't overlap and MotoGP loses its TV coverage to F1. That is not always possible, however, and sometimes, Dorna has to get creative to avoid a schedule.

This year, that scheduling sees the MotoGP round at Sepang fall in the same weekend as the F1 GP in Japan, forcing the MotoGP race to be run later in the afternoon than its usual 2pm (local time) slot. The MotoGP race is scheduled to begin at 4pm local time, to avoid the clash with Formula 1 in Japan. That decision has not found favor with everyone, however: At Sepang, Valentino Rossi was openly critical of Dorna for scheduling the start so late. The problem, Rossi pointed out, was that by starting the race at 4pm, it almost certainly guaranteed that the race would be run in the tropical afternoon storms. "Everyone knows that after about 3:30 here it is almost certain to rain," Rossi told the Italian-speaking media. "At 2pm, it's 90% certain not to rain, but at 4pm, it's the same 90% certainty that it will rain, it's really stupid."

Rossi's ire was directed at Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, who he blamed for not trying to persuade F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone to be a little more considerate of MotoGP. "We always bow down to the power of Formula 1, while they don't care about us at all," Rossi said. Asked if he had spoken to Ezpeleta about the matter, Rossi confirmed he had, but had not had much luck on the issue. "I've told Carmelo many times that I will talk to Bernie (Ecclestone) if he wants me to, but he just pulled a face as if to say Bernie doesn't care what MotoGP does in the slightest. F1 has more viewers on Italian TV."

Discussions of Formula One inevitably brought up the question of Rossi's own future once he decides to retire from MotoGP. One journalist turned the problem of Formula One's dominance over MotoGP around, pointing out that it could work in Rossi's favor if he decides to go to F1 after retiring. "Now I don't think that will happen," Rossi replied. If Rossi is to switch to four wheels after his career in MotoGP, it will almost certainly be to the World Rally Championship, rather than Formula One as so many people - including F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone - had hoped.

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Money moves mountains, and I believe that if it was certain that he was retiring from MotoGP and the powers at hand were willing, the peices would fall quite easily to see him in F1, most assuredly behind the wheel of a Ferrari, of course.
But I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him in WRC right after. Either way it's a win/win! Personally I am very intrigued to know if he has ever considered Le Mans?!

Good that Valentino is using his considerable clout to speak out about these issues.

To have someone of his stature and calibre mouthing off these concerns brings immediate attention to the matter at hand.

I mean, how many can actually walk up to the chief of Dorna and say he will have a word with the chief of F1?

In my (granted, rather limited) experience, they have largely separate audiences: people who watch F1 do not, for the most part, watch MotoGP, and vice versa. Certainly I watch MotoGP regularly, but F1 only very, very rarely.

So the whole scheduling coordination exercise is or may be pointless.

If it rains it will be cooler. Surely Vale would like that.

I would like to see a wet race for a change. Isn't that where the cream rises to the top?