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Old June 8th, 2024, 11:10 AM   #1
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[kropotkin thinks...] - OPINION: The Most Powerful Person In MotoGP

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OPINION: The Most Powerful Person In MotoGP In 2009, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta was facing catastrophe. The global financial crisis had caused Kawasaki to pull out of MotoGP, and for Honda to teeter on the brink of a decision to leave. The switch to 800cc had been disastrous, leading to processional races. Audiences were falling, teams were going out of business, grid sizes were falling.

Ezpeleta faced a problem, and that problem had a name. Shuhei Nakamoto, Vice President of HRC at the time, and de facto head of the MSMA. Dorna wanted cheaper, more competitive racing, with a wider appeal. Nakamoto wanted to win races and justify his spending on MotoGP to the board by pointing to the R&D that the sport facilitated, especially in the field of electronics. Nakamoto issued a firm 'Nyet' to any proposals for change.

By a process of browbeating, blackmail, and bribery, Ezpeleta managed to circumvent Nakamoto's veto. A return to 1000cc bikes and the introduction of the CRT class - highly tuned production engines with spec electronics in prototype chassis - helped fill the grid, and vastly improved the racing. In the run up to each new 5-year contract period, Ezpeleta managed to slip in conditions that would make racing cheaper, open up the grid, and attract three new factories to replace the two that left.

Divide and conquer

Ezpeleta's strategy was Machiavellian and brilliant. By taking the side of the teams, exploiting the ideas from inside Dorna and IRTA, and undermining Honda's dominance of the MSMA, he had found a way to topple Shuhei Nakamoto, MotoGP's most powerful person at the time. Ezpeleta was once again in charge of the sport, and had his hands more firmly on the tiller. The ship was on course, and though winds might blow it slightly to port or to starboard, the new format allowed the system to correct itself more quickly, and return to its original heading.

David EmmettSat, 08/Jun/2024 - 17:29
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