Cycle World Interview: Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO

Carmelo Ezpeleta Dorna CEO office Jerez

Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO, started his career as circuit founder and director in Spain.

Cycle World: What was your first bike?

Carmelo Ezpeleta: It was a Montesa 250. My first racing car was an R8 TS. I participated in the Copa National Renault. I raced then in a formula that was a little bit less than F3, called Formula 1430. Then I continued with some endurance races or as co-driver of Carlos Sainz in Baja rallies. My last participation was last year in an ice-racing competition in Andorra.

CW: The open formula was very successful and helped Ducati to return to competitiveness. Did you imagine that the Desmosedici GP15 would have been so successful in such a short time?

CE: I’m happy for Ducati and the whole system. Anyway, next year, everybody will use the same electronics and in the future we will have only one class. Dorna will give the ECU to the teams for free. This will help to reduce costs and increase the show. The software was realized with the support of the manufacturers.

CW: When you joined Dorna in 1991, how important was your friendship with Bernie Ecclestone to support Dorna in the management of the TV rights?

CE: It helped a lot. We talked a lot as Bernie had a previous contract with IRTA, the team association. We finally found an agreement and we started in 1992, one year before the time scheduled by the FIM. I learned a lot from Bernie. He is the man who invented this kind of business. What I was trying to do was realize the difference between cars and bikes and adopt his formula to our sport.

CW: Dorna is managing MotoGP, World SBK, the FIM Junior Cup, and the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup covering the whole path of the professional career of a rider. How important it is to have strong riders from different countries?

CE: It’s crucial to have strong riders from different nations, especially in the countries that host the GP. The US market is very important and we need successful events. We know that is difficult as there are a lot of motorsports events. Also, when the races are in Europe and Asia, the time schedule is not good for the audience. Regarding the States, it’s a very important market for Dorna and the manufacturers, and MotoAmerica is doing a great job to relaunch roadracing over there. We support them as much as we can.

CW: MotoGP owes a lot to Valentino Rossi. How important it is to have the Number 46 so successful?

CE: Valentino is very important. It’s not a question of personality. First of all, he is a fantastic rider. This is recognized all over the world. Valentino contributed a lot to the growth of our sport. When we instituted the safety commission after Daijiro Kato’s tragic incident in 2003, Valentino never missed a meeting. And he is the only rider who continued from that time to today.

Read the rest of Maria Guidotti’s interview with Ezpeleta here.

Carmelo Ezpeleta Dorna CEO office Jerez

Carmelo Ezpeleta, Dorna CEO, started his career as circuit founder and director in Spain.

Cycle World: What was your first bike?

Carmelo Ezpeleta: It was a Montesa 250. My first racing car was an R8 TS. I participated in the Copa National Renault. I raced then in a formula that was a little bit less than F3, called Formula 1430. Then I continued with some endurance races or as co-driver of Carlos Sainz in Baja rallies. My last participation was last year in an ice-racing competition in Andorra.

CW: The open formula was very successful and helped Ducati to return to competitiveness. Did you imagine that the Desmosedici GP15 would have been so successful in such a short time?

CE: I’m happy for Ducati and the whole system. Anyway, next year, everybody will use the same electronics and in the future we will have only one class. Dorna will give the ECU to the teams for free. This will help to reduce costs and increase the show. The software was realized with the support of the manufacturers.

CW: When you joined Dorna in 1991, how important was your friendship with Bernie Ecclestone to support Dorna in the management of the TV rights?

CE: It helped a lot. We talked a lot as Bernie had a previous contract with IRTA, the team association. We finally found an agreement and we started in 1992, one year before the time scheduled by the FIM. I learned a lot from Bernie. He is the man who invented this kind of business. What I was trying to do was realize the difference between cars and bikes and adopt his formula to our sport.

CW: Dorna is managing MotoGP, World SBK, the FIM Junior Cup, and the Shell Advance Asia Talent Cup covering the whole path of the professional career of a rider. How important it is to have strong riders from different countries?

CE: It’s crucial to have strong riders from different nations, especially in the countries that host the GP. The US market is very important and we need successful events. We know that is difficult as there are a lot of motorsports events. Also, when the races are in Europe and Asia, the time schedule is not good for the audience. Regarding the States, it’s a very important market for Dorna and the manufacturers, and MotoAmerica is doing a great job to relaunch roadracing over there. We support them as much as we can.

CW: MotoGP owes a lot to Valentino Rossi. How important it is to have the Number 46 so successful?

CE: Valentino is very important. It’s not a question of personality. First of all, he is a fantastic rider. This is recognized all over the world. Valentino contributed a lot to the growth of our sport. When we instituted the safety commission after Daijiro Kato’s tragic incident in 2003, Valentino never missed a meeting. And he is the only rider who continued from that time to today.

Read the rest of Maria Guidotti’s interview with Ezpeleta here.

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