Dorna & Wayne Rainey Looking to Develop American Racing

08/12/2014 @ 9:25 pm, by Jensen Beeler27 COMMENTS

Dorna & Wayne Rainey Looking to Develop American Racing merica 635x425

There has been so much smoke lately about Dorna doing something in the American market for road racing, that surely there must be some fire. Our sources, and the consensus in the MotoGP paddock is that Carmelo Ezpeleta has his eyes on a North American Championship, of sorts — a move designed to side-step issues with DMG and AMA Pro Road Racing.

With the France family perhaps responsible single-handedly destroying American interest in motorcycle racing, it should not be too surprising that the often unliked entity that is Dorna Sport, is being hailed as a possible savior of the sport in the United States. Whatever you think about those two entities, it is clear that something has to give.

Talking to Fox Sports 1, Ezpeleta tipped his hand on what he envisioned for the US market, saying that he has been talking to “relevant people” to create a program that will develop American riders for the Grand Prix Championship. Helping him spearhead that plan is none other than a certain Mr. Wayne Rainey.

Ezpeleta would not elaborate on his plan, so it’s not clear exactly what the Dorna CEO is brewing with three-time 500GP World Champion, though the news seems to fit previous rumors quite well.

As it stands right now, America needs not only a series that fosters and cultivates new talent, which means both technical and sponsorship support, but also needs a way to feed young American racers into Grand Prix racing’s Moto3, Moto2, MotoGP categories.

One of the obvious solutions would be to bring the Moto3 and Moto2 class formats to a series in the United States or North America as a whole. The formula has worked well in the Spanish Championship (CEV), where the series’ intermediate class follows the same class rules as the Moto2 World Championship.

Similarly with the Red Bull Rookies cup using slightly cheaper Moto3 equipment, that development series has turned out many strong riders in the GP paddock, and a more local format in the United States could work similar wonders (Americans in the Red Bull Rookies Cup have shown well, though never seem to find their way off of American soil afterwards).

Whether Rainey and Ezpeleta will be following a tobacco business model of getting them while their young, or creating a series that competes more directly with AMA Pro Racing remains to be seen, but with the American national championship on the verge of collapse, any solution at this point is better than the one currently in operation.

Source: FOX Sports 1

Comment:

  1. Paulus says:

    I hope mr Rainey learns from COTA/Schwantz and gets a legally binding contract in place before Dorna start trading off his good reputation. Let’s hope this pans out… It would be good for the sport

  2. Why is he talking to Fox Sports 1 ? They willnever be good for the sport. Doesn’t the Velocity channel come with the same basic cable package as Fox Sports 1?

    Velocity has demonstrated their ability to broadcast good coverage of motorcycle racing on The Isle of Man. They will do a better job than Fox Sports.

  3. tony says:

    boys, you’re both missing the point. maerican road racing needs help. big help. i was at john ulrich’s event in fontana, and while it was great fun you could sense everyone just about to burst from lack of direction…

    i could give a fuck if spain is involved. by all means come in. is it lost on anyone that half of the best riders in the world are spanish? how long has it been since colin was king, nicky was prince, and hopper and spies were nipping at their heels? not that long right?

    we could have it all back in 10 yrs guys…

  4. Westward says:

    I wouldn’t place the blame solely on the shoulders of the France family. Americans are their own worst enemy. What hurt was having Kawasaki be the only manufacturer that offered a 250cc bike for beginners. The same bike for more than 20 years. Only now the manufacturers are putting forth a competitive market of affordable bikes in the 250 and 300 range.

    The Spanish had a system. Pocket bikes, mini-moto 50, then 125, and 250 bikes. Affordable bikes to groom talent. The US only had 600cc bikes, and the prices kept getting higher. Australia has a right idea, it forced beginners into 250cc bikes. The perfect cc’s in which to cultivate and hone skills.

    Too many American’s what to start out riding 1000cc bikes, cause thats what men do… The Hopper was the perfect example of the mentality towards the development of talent in the US. They couldn’t get that guy on a 1000cc bike and then a 500 MotoGP bike fast enough.

    Once Americans can buy 125cc bikes for less than $3000, and 250cc for less than $4000, a culture will rise, where people will start to modify and race those bike and capture the imagination of the youth. Have you seen lately what people are doing to the Honda Ruckus?

    A dad with a kid who wants to race bikes is more inclined to spend a couple of grand on a used 125cc, then modify it and still have a little more funds to gear his kid up and pay fees for races. They’ll just toss his equipment in the back of the truck and they are off.

    Motorcycle racing is never going to be cheap. but 600cc and 1000cc is too high a cost for entry, and who wants to risk their kids life trying to tame one of those machines. Rossi, Simoncelli, Marquez and etc. etc. All started on Pocket-bikes, followed by Mini-Moto (50cc), then moved up to 125cc, and then 250cc.

    The British and to a much lesser extent the Australians have similar issue as the US. and that is pricing the population out of the sport…

  5. KSW says:

    Jensen, Jensen, Jensen…..

    You really need to have one of your business friends from outside the industry look at the business model and do the write up.

    You have a broke and in debt Bridgepoint investment, Dorna (that’s what dorna is now a PE investment) and if the broke and unsupported tracks here are going to be ask to Pay Dorna To Use Their Track then this is dead in the water. Do you and Scott want to have to pay to cover another series? Does everyone want to continue going broke to be part of the Bridgepoint Family Of Investments, funded by taxpayers?

    If the same model is used to run this that is in place now, I predict failure. But then again, I would never pay a rich guy to sleep in my bed because my ego is so needy. Good personal decisions aren’t good Business decisions.

  6. @Tony – I didn’t miss any point. Road racing obviously needs big help, but why would one talk to the network that is aligned so much to the same France family that Jensen mentions as being a big part of this sports plummeting decline since they’ve taken over?

    Meanwhile, there is a network that has proven they can do a better job based on the IoM coverage

  7. JoeD says:

    @westward-You have a good grasp on the situation. Our American mentality of “Bigger than yours” is what drives the market and two things could change that. Tiered Licensing may help but that means more government control-not popular. The better way is to have a tiered racing system. At the club level with Dorna oversight, we could see young talent progress over time to the larger machines. In the old days, it was “run what you brung” with minimal rules. No factory specials, just off the shelf mods and determination. It was after all a collaboration between teams and factories that gave us the glory days of racing after WW2. Now in MotoGP, it seems the factories rule with Dorna trying to limit that and give every-one a shot at the Championship.

    I say bring on the world model and let the AMA/France marriage do what they do best- marketing lawn mower racing for the masses.

  8. Justaguy says:

    Don’t the France family own most of the tracks NASCAR uses? I seem to remember there being some issue when US racing was still viable that certain tracks that could have been improved for bike racing weren’t because the France family had direct influence or ownership of the tracks or something like that. Maybe it was some other group that owned most of them…….
    I hope someone does something. I personally think dirt track needs to be “big upped”. It is still the grassroots non-motocross racing in America, even for cars. Tony Stewart hit that kid 20 miles from where I live and there are plenty of dirt tracks just like that one here in NY State, but only a few real motocross ones. Plus I see motocross, or at least the Supercross type of racing, being reeled in due to the potential for massive injuries so I say start with a real Grand National championship like it used to be. Dirt, off road and road. Get the kids on their little 110’s into it and as they grow you can expand it to pure road or off-road/dirt track. Think long term, not energy drink profits.

  9. KSW says:

    Guys/Gals,

    It doesn’t matter what TV Network airs MGP. Look, does anyone see MGP on the news like F1? See MGP in major sports publications or news sites? Nope. Sooooo, MGP can market themselves as F1 for Motorcycles but that doesn’t mean squat when the facts are not even close to that reality. The policies of Bridgepoint/Dorna and there politics would have to change dramatically for this to change. I can tell you the reason this isn’t covered is more than you think. But then again, I eat, dine and hang with the likes of top of the food chain major news exec’s. The world of media/news outside the Motorcycling Industry has told them to go Fook off and walked.

    Dorna, Bridgepoint, Dorna …. you listening to what you’ve been told? Yes, and not changed a thang.

  10. Sid says:

    @KSW – they have to have some coverage. Starting w Fox doesn’t seem like a good idea, but Velocity does have potential. They covered a race for numerous days that mainstream ‘Merica would shun due to the deaths.

    Speaking of Dirttrack … I agree that racing needs more publicity on its own merit (super entertaining) but it should also be connected in some way to a rookie cup road racing series. Many great road racers learned bike control on dirtracks

  11. Jw says:

    Sad to see such sour remarks about a very positive effort to help bring talent into the sport. Someone is stepping up, give this a chance at least.

    Tony:
    And a great big high 5 in your face with a chair, to you for the F bomb.

    I believe there is a NASCAR site around the corner waiting for you..

  12. b_bobby43 says:

    Westward, you my friend have spoken great truth. That is a direction and a plan that would greatly increase participation. The very reason Motorcross and supercross are popular here is exactly the same. Buy your kid a cheap bike and some gear, throw it in the truck, and go racing. 50,125,and 250 machines are cheap and plentiful. Try buying an old ysr 50… Good luck. But the options have to become more readily available from manufacturers. But If racing and manufacturers could meet in the middle on this… It would change the whole sport.

  13. JRey says:

    OK, I’ll join the pontification group here of folks that haven’t built up a race series offering their opinions on how to build up a race series. Right, I’ve never built up a race series either.

    DMG fustercluck vs. Dorna illuminati? Which will make for US talent development and a return to prestige for a domestic series? Let’s do that binary comparison. Let’s all draw from our considerable experience building up a domestic race series to determine the best course of action. The Internet has made all of us smart enough to do that.

    Would it be a stretch to imagine that in its heyday, the AMA series had an illuminati aspect to it – where shadowy politics determined who got the good rides, tires, etc.? Is the apprehension about Dorna because they’re perceived as having agendas – some overt and some covert? Imagine that – a business organization with overt and covert agendas…oh the frickin’ humanity of it all!!! Imagine a world where individuals also have overt and covert agendas…oh the frickin’ humanity of it all!!!

    Hell, we Texans have the Spaniards to thank for our toll roads. Them and Gov. Perry. We don’t talk about his hair much anymore but have you seen his new glasses?

    Well, I’m done with my meanderings here. I need to go plaster a “Come and Take It” firearms sticker on the back of my Land Cruiser and draw a cause and effect map that shows Barack Obama was to blame for Buell’s 2009 AMA Pro Daytona Sportbike Championship.

    Don’t Tread on Me !!! ffs…

  14. KSW says:

    Sid,

    Velocity had nothing to do with the TT coverage other than paying to air it. You can thank Neil Duncanson CEO of North 1 for that and along with Steve, Jamie and James the on air. Yep, the Isle of Man TT was aired here in the USA for free to all to enjoy. Who has better analytics than MGP, why the Isle of Man of course. The numbers don’t lie and unless someone starts searching my site and others who cover both MGP and IOMTT to make MGP beat the IOMTT numbers you are all in the minority of what the world wants. The world wants access to the racing, riders, pits, etc and real racing. Bridgepoint can’t afford to give access to Dorna, they’ve huge debt to settle, before they unload it.

    If I was an editor I’d stop talking to Carmello at Dorna and stop by the most expensive Fine Hotel and Resorts place where the Bridgepoint staff in Dorna shirts stay and talk to them. It’s they who tell Dorna what to do in the end.

  15. Betty Draper says:

    Not sure why Jw is self-designated as the fucking f-bomb police but I have to agree that this is fucking positive news all the way around. There’s no fucking doubt that it won’t be perfect and that we will have to suffer fucking Bob Varsha’s (displaced yelling) commentary during the fucking US races on Fox fucking Sports.

    Westward pretty much fucking nails the economic incentives to get more Americans racing which will fucking drive sponsors, TV, racetracks, energy drinks, and even more fucking commentary up on this wonderful fucking site.

    Tip o’ the fucking hat to you, Jw because sometimes we fucking need to be reminded that it’s fucking OK to use all the words that are available.

  16. jordan.gpx says:

    “Would it be a stretch to imagine that in its heyday, the AMA series had an illuminati aspect to it – where shadowy politics determined who got the good rides, tires, etc.? Is the apprehension about Dorna because they’re perceived as having agendas – some overt and some covert? Imagine that – a business organization with overt and covert agendas…oh the frickin’ humanity of it all!!! Imagine a world where individuals also have overt and covert agendas…oh the frickin’ humanity of it all!!!”

    +1

    Dorna has nothing on Bernie. Caramello Koala is a saint in comparison.

    It would be great for this to happen. Unfortunately, I think Australia’s infrastructure is looking pretty bad with the fall of the ASBK, although the FX series. To be honest though, rarely have big names come up through either series, most top-notch riders moving over to England or thrash it out on a dirtbike, we did have an old 250cc 2T championship which had the likes of Doohan, Bayliss and McCoy racing. We have a weird bike culture over here, you either love bikes or couldn’t care less. Still, it’s pretty much next to impossible to find a true fan of the GP here (i.e. watch every race), most fans only making a yearly trip out of Philip Island for a laugh and to get away from the wife… Funnily enough, all our good riders have come from little regional towns in the middle of nowhere – Wollongong, Kurri-Kurri, Townsville – in true Aussie bogan style…

    Anyways, this would be awesome to see, I don’t watch the American SBKs regularly, but from what it sounds like DMG aren’t doing the greatest job at trying to keep it a viable and relevant series. This is a shame, as I love watching American riders tear it up just as much as Australians :(

  17. jordan.gpx says:

    *although the FX series is still running

  18. Justaguy says:

    I forgot to mention that the new liquid cooled (ooooohhh…… aaaaahhhhh!) Harleys (and now the Indian Scout) have been bounced around as platforms for dirt track racing here in ‘USA’. While I find both bikes fugley (and I am on my 2nd Victory) I think it would be utterly fantastic to see both Corporations step up and create some kind of rivalry like they both love to brag about in their advertising.

    Dirt track is where it’s at for raising the little ones to be future pro racers. I’ve never raced it and I don’t think I could afford a steel shoe in my size but when you look at the way ‘contact’ sports are being criticized at as far as concussions and other injuries I just don’t see the Mothers Of America encouraging Timmy, let alone Suzi to be the next G.O.A.T. pulling triples and banging bars in the corners. The dads? Sure, but sooner or later the powers that be are going to see one more thing they can regulate the poop out of and next thing you know motocross will be regulated out of existence by the Green movement, the scaredy cats, the over-reaching Federal gov’t., etc. Dirt track and electric bikes sounds like a match too and as someone else mentioned the ‘run what ya brung’ type events still do go on in some places; some when a bunch of guys with some land decide to get out the brush-hog and make a track, some at ‘real’ tracks.

    The key to developing professional racing in America is to figure out what kind of racing Americans are doing now and go from there, not to force them to conform to the standards of Europe or Down Under. You can’t do that if you don’t get in the camper and travel around to Smallsville and Palookaville talking to folks. The term I find myself using more and more is ‘organic’. Not in the food sense, but in the commercial world. Did this local place’s ad campaign develop organically or was it the result of someone putting a bug in someones ear or going around encouraging this, that or the other. If you want to grow motorcycle racing in USA you need to do it organically, and dirt track is pesticide free.

  19. Justaguy says:

    I dig that graphic of the nation btw. Although #’s 49 and 50 got the shaft.

  20. johnrdupree says:

    @Racetrack Style, @Sid, @KSW, you guys are misreading what the article says. Ezpeleta is not talking to Fox about airing the series, he was talking to them because they were doing the interview. It aired on Fox Sports 1 during MotoGP coverage. Maybe Jensen can change that line from “Talking to Fox Sports 1,” to “Interviewed on Fox Sports 1.” :-|

    Anyway, having Dorna organize and run a series in the US can be nothing except beneficial. DMG has no competition and they don’t seem to care if motorcycle racing grows or not. Maybe they’re getting some return on their investment with the crap series they have now and just don’t want to invest any more. Having a real series may wake them up and make them try, or maybe they’d do us all a favor and just go away.

  21. smiler says:

    It would be nice to believe but Dorna’s intentions and actions seem to be at odds more often than not.
    To promote MotoGP in the US they moved it to a track that in it’s first year was dangerous and this year the riders hate and fewer people came to watch.

    They have just signed in the UK to move the GP to an inaccessible track that is not even built yet and will keep only one round.
    The TV contract was signed with a company with no subsctibers rather than spreading the rights.
    The CEV championship is based in Spain and Dorna only endorse and promote this series. All the rounds are in Spain and foreign riders have to race there. Presumably if they wanted to dilute the number of Spanish riders and expand racing in the US and elsewhere Dorna would hold rounds outside Spain and during a MotoGP race weekend. I doubt the US could support the AMA and feeder series to WSBK and a completely seperate 125, 250 and MotoGP prod’n series.
    The UK has has a 125 and 250 championship but WSBK has always been more popular than MotoGP. Hence the bigger interest in 600cc and 1000cc racing.

    A comparison between Bernie and Camelo.
    Bernie used to race, ran an F1 team, was a colleague to many of the team managers, dug F1 out from bankruptcy, promoted it, made it an international sport from being a national one, ensured the teams, drivers and suppliers made plenty of money, promoted the sport, lead it into new coutries successfully. He also allied F1 to the FIA and gave the manufactuers a voice. Many people do not like him but everyone in F1 respects and trusts him.

    Carmelo managed a track in Spain. Has put Spain’s interests first ever since they took it over, took MotoGP out of the FIM, charged print media for covering the sport, increased the numbers of rounds in Spain, started a Spanish feeder series, promoted the sport in former Spanish colonies, with limited success. Reduced the international profile of the series.

    Hope it works out in the US. Given the experience with Schwantz and the track changes.

  22. Westward says:

    @ JoeD

    Governments are going the way of the dinosaurs and video stores. Corporations have made governments irrelevant. Think more along the lines of Aliens and Avatar. A corporation that pays for the military to do its biding to further its shareholders interests.

    The only real problem is, most corporations are nearsighted. More like Nokia and Blackberry, and less like Apple, or Tesla and Space X in terms of vision.

    In my opinion the biggest problem with the Motorcycle industry is the same with most industries, avarice. Every manufacturer wants to be Ducati and sell bike for over $20,000. A 1000cc bike use to cost less than $10k , and a 600cc bike around $7k. The Kawi 250 around $3k, now its about $5000 out the door.

    Ironically, Ducati revived itself by selling a bike for under $10k, the Monster. Honda became a juggernaut on the back of their Honda Cub bike. A well made efficient and affordable machine. Walmart is the leviathan they are because they are the low price leader, and its understanding of logistics.

    The problem with Moto-racing is and always will be the cost of entry and participation. There is a reason why basketball and football US or Euro alike are so popular. Almost anyone and everyone can afford a ball…

  23. Potreroduc says:

    Someone on the outside looking in sees a US series that does justice neither to the heritage nor to the current talent, that doesn’t do much to help riders to progress to the international level, and wants to help.

    This is a good thing.

  24. @johnrdupree – thanks, missed the video at the end of the post.

  25. Funnyman6869 says:

    Maybe instead of all of us bitching we could bond together as Race Fans and get something done.
    A petition, a phone call,etc…I don’t care, we need to bond together & support this series and maybe a Network like Fox or Velocity will listen to us and show more racing.
    It’s a pipe dream but it’s still a dream. Road Racing in American has to make a comeback and it starts with the fans DEMANDING something be done.
    So let’s try supporting one another instead of tearing each other down!

  26. Jw says:

    @ funnyman6869

    Good idea about the bonding together.

    I say we elect Betty Draper (above) to be our spokesperson.

  27. TexusTim says:

    nearly two years ago I mentioned here that dorna should just buy the ama and start a new series based on the three moto gp size bikes..that way we have a ” feader ” into enternatioal racing.
    In America if you don’t look for motorcycle racing news you wont get any….that’s the media’s fault and dorna playing around too much with televised deals…too bad they don’t see the biggest thing they need to do is televise every practice.qualifing and of course the race..if they have to almost give it away in America so be it.
    but that’s just my opinion.