Moto2 is in danger of becoming a victim of its own success, fears Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, with too many riders and teams having pledged their support to the 250cc replacement class for its maiden campaign in 2010 – as he insisted that the principle objective for 'big brother' MotoGP is to reduce costs rather than attract new manufacturers into the fold.
No fewer than 25 teams have signed up to Moto2 for the forthcoming season, with Tech 3, Gresini Racing and Interwetten amongst the highest-profile – whilst on the rider front, there are a staggering 40 names down to compete in the Qatar curtain-raiser at Losail on 11 April, including MotoGP refugees Alex de Angelis, Toni Elias, Roberto Rolfo and Niccolò Canepa, World Superbike Championship star Fonsi Nieto, youngest-ever GP race-winner Scott Redding and former 125cc World Champion Gábor Talmácsi.
With measures such as stringently-limited electronics, the abolition of carbon-fibre brakes in favour of steel brakes, control tyres and a standard engine across the board, all the ingredients are on paper in-place to bring expenditure down whilst building upon the spectacle of predecessor 250cc. Ezpeleta's only concern is that due to its greater appeal, Moto2 has now become a little oversubscribed...
“It seems we will have 40 permanent riders, and for me that is too many to be honest,” the chief of the sport's commercial rights-holder told Crash.net Radio
. “We don't want to have more than 22 in MotoGP, and for us the ideal number in Moto2 would be around 35 or something like that.
“I'm pleased that [some ex-MotoGP riders] have decided to continue. I am absolutely sure that if we had carried on with 250cc, neither Elias nor de Angelis would have chosen to go there. I think they have appreciated the possibility of doing well in this category, which is why they have entered it.
“I think Moto2 has been such a big success because it's much, much cheaper than 250cc was, there are more possibilities for people to work on the set-up of the bikes and I think it will be very competitive – though we still need to look carefully at the first test to see exactly how it is. 250cc has been a fantastic category since 1949, but now due to economic reasons, the situation with two-stroke has finished – and we are starting over with Moto2.”
The objective of each and every one of those 40 entrants, of course, will be to perform well enough in Moto2 to be able to graduate – or in some cases return – to the pinnacle of MotoGP. However, in the face of accusations that with so few openings at the highest level and so many pretenders in the new class, there will be rather more competitors left disappointed come season's end than satisfied, Ezpeleta argued that the premier class should be strictly for the very crème de la crème – and that goes for teams and riders alike.
“This happens in university and everywhere,” the Spaniard explained. “The top categories are for the top people. We don't right now have many riders who are capable of racing in MotoGP; I hope in the future that situation will change and there will be more possibilities for more people.
“I have never said I want more manufacturers in MotoGP. I have said I am not against more manufacturers, but the principal objective of the new regulations is to reduce the costs and have bigger grids. If this is because more manufacturers come in, I will be happy, but the main goal is to have cheaper technical costs and then to attract more people.”
TO LISTEN TO THE INTERVIEW IN FULL: CLICK HERE