‘Maybe MotoGP should have less races in Italy, Spain - go where the money is’

KTM and Aprilia bosses concerned by MotoGP calendar size.

Francesco Bagnaia, Tissot Sprint Race, Indian MotoGP, 23 September
Francesco Bagnaia, Tissot Sprint Race, Indian MotoGP, 23 September

Aprilia’s Massimo Rivola has joined KTM’s Pit Beirer in questioning the record-breaking size of the MotoGP calendar.

After a new high of 20 rounds last year, 22 events were planned for this season, although the cancellation of Argentina means it currently stands at 21 (assuming Kazakhstan is homologated).

“The number of races I think is really on the limit and we as a group would prefer slightly less than more,” said KTM motorsport director Beirer.

The introduction of Saturday afternoon Sprint races from the start of last year has also raised the intensity of each Grand Prix.

However, Beirer made clear he wants the Sprint format to remain.

“We are really in big favour of that,” said the German. “We love racing, so I love to see a race already on Saturday.

“I think it makes the GP nicer for our fans, our public and ourselves.

“But I feel we must be very careful with the crew, with the team members, with the riders.

“Many times with extra races we’re talking about overseas races, which put a bigger load on everybody's team members and their families.

“So I feel that we must be very careful and see if we could not slightly reduce - rather one [less event] than one more - that's a clear feeling from our side.

“When you saw the team members at the end of the season, it was like you needed to motivate some of them really to stay on board and go again for a full season like we have. So we must be very careful there.”

Aprilia Racing CEO Rivola said he was one of those to feel the extra strain.

“Personally, I finished [last] year totally destroyed because, with the Sprint format, on Friday you are already in qualifying mode," he said.

“So every weekend by Sunday night we were quite tired, the season was tough.”

But Rivola said he would welcome more overseas races in commercially important regions, suggesting they should replace events in countries that host multiple MotoGPs: Spain (4) and Italy (2).

“Thinking about 21 or 22 [GPs], that means 42 or 44 races. It's a lot, for sure,” he said.

“If we can have less than that, for sure, we get the benefit. If it's good for the sport, this is something that we need to sit down with Carmelo [Ezpeleta] and understand.

“I'm Italian, but maybe we should have less races in Italy, less races in Spain. So less races in Europe and go where the money is.

“We need big sponsors in this business. To attract them maybe we need to go - it's good to go to Indonesia. It's very good to go to India. 

"So let's go to the places where [the money is] or the market for the bikes.”

Of the 21 rounds scheduled for this season, 12 are due to be held in Europe.

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