“It’s a feeling of being unemployed” - MotoGP riders against substitution idea

Francesco Bagnaia was part of a consensus that thought the idea of having substitution riders in MotoGP is wrong.
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Catalunya 2023
Francesco Bagnaia, Ducati MotoGP Catalunya 2023

The MotoGP champion is currently in the form of his life after completing his third double of the season at the Red Bull Ring.

One of the reasons for Bagnaia’s success has been his consistency which is something he, but also other riders could suffer from if a rider substitution rule was implemented.

Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta floated the idea due to KTM’s current situation which has seen them fail to have a fifth bike accepted onto the grid for 2024.

KTM have five riders signed to MotoGP deals with only four bikes at their disposal, which is why talk of having a reserve rider could become more prevalent in recent days.

But Bagnaia is very much against the idea, saying: "I don’t know if I can agree! If I’m a rider and I race, then one race later, I have to wait? It’s a feeling of being unemployed. I don’t like it. It’s better to wait in Moto2."

Bagnaia was then joined by fellow Ducati rider Marco Bezzecchi in seeing it as a bizarre idea.

"It’s a strange situation because Pedro [Acosta] is a big, big talent who wants to step into MotoGP," added the Italian. 

"Every rider is going fast and, in KTM, there are many good riders so it’s a tough situation."

The rider with the longest deal of anyone on the MotoGP grid is Brad Binder, who would therefore be the least likely to suffer from a reserve rider scheme.

Binder is signed until the end of 2026 and is currently the only rider signed beyond the 2024 campaign.

Providing a light-hearted answer, Binder said: "I’ll be here a while! So if they change the format to football-style, I’ll be here for a while."

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