Football-style transfers and relegations mooted to spice up MotoGP rider market

A transfer window and relegations - like those used in football - have been suggested to revolutionise the MotoGP rider market.
Fabio Di Giannantonio, Malaysian MotoGP, 10 November
Fabio Di Giannantonio, Malaysian MotoGP, 10 November

Fabio di Giannantonio’s first MotoGP victory in Qatar came at a time where his future in the series was hanging by a thread, with his bike going to Marc Marquez next year.

But a radical new way to spice up the ‘silly season’ has been mooted which would allow riders like Di Giannantonio to take advantage of late-season form.

His crew chief Frankie Carchedi said to TNT Sports: “I’m quite strong on this - in other sports, like in football, you have relegation if you’re at the bottom and promotion if you’re at the top. 

“I’d love something like that! If you’re in the top three of Moto2…

“He’s 12th in MotoGP. It doesn’t seem fair. There are a lot of politics. You’ve only got to see the way he’s going at the moment - he deserves to stay.”

Hypothetically, the bottom three full-time riders in the MotoGP standings are Pol Espargaro, Joan Mir and Raul Fernandez.

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Sylvain Guintoli replied: “I had a conversation with Davide Brivio. He was talking about a riders’ transfer market, and having a late window, like in football. 

“You have a late transfer window where the market opens up.

“I thought it was a really interesting idea. Sometimes contracts are signed a year before. It could be something to think about in the future.”

Football typically operates with two annual periods where teams can trade players - one mid-season, and one at the end of the season.

But MotoGP obviously has a limited quantity of bikes, and Di Giannantonio is the victim of Marquez’s desire to quit Honda and jump on a Ducati in 2024.

Riders usually sign contracts for a maximum of two years but Di Giannantonio was in the final months of his Gresini deal so he became easy to dispose of.

His incredible form of the past few weeks has come after Gresini confirmed they would replace him with Marquez.

Suzi Perry said: “We’ve seen riders sign a contract then have an awful season, like they’ve signed it too soon.”

Carcheci replied: “Absolutely. I’m never going to name names. But there are people who have struggled and who have had many years. 

“Fabio is in his second year! It’s not like he’s been here five or 10 years. 

“He came from 17th in Mandalika and finished fourth, he was fighting for the win at Phillip Island. It was difficult because I knew, from him, that he wanted to have the results straight away.”

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