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Dorna deals announced

MotoGP’s closed shop took a step from concept to reality at the Sachsenring, with a new “agreement of exclusivity” for the next five years with the existing seven independent teams in the premier class. This was announced by Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta, who confirmed that there will be no space for new teams, and that any new manufacturer wishing to join will have to make an agreement with one of the existing teams. At the same time, at a press conference attended by the heads of the seven teams along with IRTA officials, he confirmed details of the new financial package aimed at securing their future in the series.

“The increase in payments for all three classes for independent teams is almost 100 percent, from 2016 to 2017,” he said.

As reported earlier, for MotoGP teams this would include the lease price of motorcycles, which was to be capped at 2.2-million Euros for two bikes for one rider, excluding accident repair costs.

Six of the seven teams – Gresini’s factory Aprilia squad, Avintia, Pramac and Aspar Ducati, Monster Yamaha and Marc VDS Honda – already field two riders apiece. Lucio Cecchinello, chief of the LCR Honda squad, agreed with Ezpeleta that the extra funding “will give us a better situation” to expand his team to two riders from 2018.

This would bring the current total of 23 riders up to 24, “but there will never be more than 24,” said Ezpeleta. “The next step,” he continued, “is to sign with the manufacturers an agreement to supply bikes. If they agree, then there will be an extra payment to the manufacturers.”

He quickly poo-pooed the alarming implication that the notion of cost-capped lease bikes was still only a notion, however. “This agreement is not already signed, but is on the way to being signed, and in principle has been accepted,” he said. Michael Scott