MotoGP: the 500th GP of the Dorna era in Texas. Let’s retrace the stages – MotoGP

Domenica Dorna celebrates “its” 500th GP: in 1991 it acquired the television and commercial rights of the world championship and that of Japan at Suzuka, in 1992, was the first Grand Prix of the new era. But it was a bad day for Italian fans …

April 8, 2022

M.unfortunately many of you remember that very well March 29, 1992. The Japanese GP was aired on Tele + and suddenly, without warning, the signal was scrambled.

Sunday morning, at the time of the start! The world championship that we have been following passionately for years in the clear – mainly on Rai, but also on Telemontecarlo, Telecapodistria and on Italian Switzerland – out of the blue became paid. A beauty: I don’t know how the commentator, which then was mesurvived all those curses.

T.ele + 1 had already been broadcasting paid films for a few months and Tele + 2 (based in Cologno Monzese) had a structure that had been working with Telecapodistria for some years: Rino Tommasi he was at the helm of the sports editorial team and it must be admitted that great things were done for all sports, from tennis to basketball, cycling to football and the Paris-Dakar.
The executives had generically announced the turning point “for the spring”. I myself, sent to Japan, knew nothing about it …

Later that same Sunday, to console the viewers they came by clear summaries of the three races. But the protests were many and vehement even among the houses, Aprilia, Cagiva and Gilera threatened economic retaliation, the specialized press rose, but all was useless.

Personally I can say that, collaborating with newspapers as well as with television, I did not spare the criticism of the broadcaster: motorcycling deserved a very different audience. The thing it was not taken well in Cologno.

D.i gladly remember the producer and friend at that time Marco Oliveri and his team. We all flew to Japan, and before the double trip to Australia and Malaysia we managed to frame a week’s vacation in New Caledonia.
Life lasts: to the Isle of Pines by helicopter, the tours with Gigi Soldano and the jeep, the poor man Carlo Pernat who fell asleep in the pool and took such sunstroke that he ended up in the hospital in Noumea …

Cadalora and Doohan

QOn Sunday of Suzuka saw a great Luca Cadaloraformer 250cc world champion with Honda and winner of the race on Okada and Aoki.
In the 125 Bruno Casanovaafter the pole position, he was second in the race with Aprilia behind Honda’s Ralf Waldmann, who left us four years ago; third the unfortunate Nobu Wakay (died in Jerez a year later), then GianolaSaito and Alex Gramigni that with the 125 from Noale he would later conquer the 1992 world title. The first for Aprilia in speed.

In 500 the pole was Schwantz but the victory went to Mick Doohan and Honda, Chandler and Kevin’s two Suzuki cars behind the Australian. The title of the top class would have gone as we know to Wayne Rainey and to Yamaha, also due to the accident that would have destroyed Doohan’s leg in the Netherlands.

And Dorna? The contract with the FIM had been signed a year earlier in Madrid: rights and marketing of the races until ’97. There had been a colorful press presentation in May 1991 in Jerez, where Dorna Promocion del Deporte didn’t make a great impression. But then it came Carmelo Ezpeletaborn in 1946, who knew motorcycles.

I can testify that Dorna was serious right from the start. From amateurism we switched to professionalism. I had the advantage of working for television then, that is, for the media which was increasingly spoiled by Carmelo Ezpeleta and Manuel Arroyo.

Today’s director, Sergi Sendra, was my first operator when Dorna imposed, on the model of Formula 1, the use of his cameramen.

The balance of the thirty years

T.before things have changed; not all for the better, of course, the Money God commands too much but the budget in my opinion remains very positive.
Maybe because I lived the era of the FIM that thought only of lunches and dinners, of the amateur motorcycle clubs organizers of the Grand Prix, of the security battles and of the FMI managers who checked the works carried out … over the phone.

I swear, I am silent about the names of Patria for charity. Maybe that’s why: today everything seems almost perfect.

THEIn thirty years, Dorna recalls in his press release, we have seen six classes on the track: 125, 250 and 500 which later became Moto3 (in 2012), Moto2 (2010) and MotoGP (2002). The paddock has made stops in more than 20 countries and 65 riders of 12 nationalities have won at least one world championship: 29 of them have achieved the world championship dream in the light class, 24 in the intermediate class and 12 in the premier class.

In thirty years the MotoGP Legend Valentino Rossi has won nine world titles, Marc Marquez has won eight, Mick Doohan has won five consecutive world championships between 1994 and 1998 in the era of the 500; and Jorge Lorenzo is also at five world crowns. Finally, Casey Stoner and Valentino Rossi are the only two riders capable of becoming world champions with two different manufacturers in this beautiful period.

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