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Poncharal talks MotoGP calendar expansion
9 September 2013
By Stephen English
With the draft 2014 MotoGP race schedule set to be released in the coming weeks there has been much speculation about how the expected return of the Brazilian and Argentinean Grands Prix will fall into place on the calendar.
At present the MotoGP calendar consists of 18 races, which could rise to 20 given the addition of the South American rounds and that no existing event is so far confirmed as losing its place.
Speaking at the British Grand Prix, Herve Poncharal, president of teams' association IRTA, commented on the importance of more races to MotoGP finances.
"In the teams we have factory teams and independent teams," said the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 Team Principal. "The factory teams are Ducati, Yamaha and Repsol Honda and these teams are different. But for most of the independent teams we have to remember that our promoter, Dorna, has three main sources of income.
"The first is sponsors and because of the economy this is going down, just like it is for the teams. Second source of income is TV rights and it is not easy to have it grow because of the economy. The last source of income is GP organisation and at the moment there are many people looking at organising a race in MotoGP.
"This is at the moment the only area where the championship can improve [income]."
Poncharal underlined that teams need to be aware their financial future is entwined with that of Dorna, whose support package includes elements such as transport and freight costs.
"All the teams have financial support coming from Dorna and if the teams want that financial support to continue all of us need to remember that the promoter needs to be able to make some money.
"I don't have an assurance that we will go to 20 races next year but I completely support that we need to have more races. When Argentina and Brazil are knocking on the door and Russia might be interested you can't just say that we have enough races."
While much attention is focused on the premier class, it is worth remembering that Poncharal's role as president of IRTA also includes the Moto2 and Moto3 classes and he is therefore also tasked with improving the fortunes of some of the smallest teams in the paddock.
"In Moto2 and Moto3 most of their income is from the championship, especially the smaller teams, so adding one or two more races would actually help their budget. Especially when we travel outside of Europe because we have more support [from Dorna] and if you ask most of the smaller teams they would say that they would be happy to have more races outside of Europe."
For comparison, the draft version of the 2014 F1 calendar contains 21 races, with only eight of the events in Europe.
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