Dorna boss says he wouldn’t adopt controversial F1 finale set piece for MotoGP

Carmelo Ezpeleta won't be taking inspiration from F1's controversial stewards decision-making, saying it has learned from the 2015 MotoGP furore fall out

Valentino Rossi, Marc Márquez - 2015 Malaysian MotoGP


Dorna boss Carmelo Ezpeleta says he would allow his riders battle it out for title glory i on track without steward intervention akin to that of the controversial 2021 Formula 1 World Championship finale… despite the temptation to do so for vast media exposure.

Ezpeleta, the CEO of MotoGP’s commercial rights holder, has been the presiding figure in the grand prix ranks since 1998, during which time he has witnessed multiple controversial on-track incidents and the odd gnarly title showdown finale.

However, while MotoGP has held its own in terms of strict rulings that would go on to have a bearing on the championship race, F1’s extraordinary climax to Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton’s bitter and bruising year-long tussle has divided fans and pundits alike.

Sparked by a late safety car period that would leave just a single lap sprint to the flag, the FIA Race Director allowed the lapped cars between leader Hamilton and the fresh tyre-shod Verstappen to overtake, reversing an earlier call that suggested this wouldn’t happen. 

The Dutchman subsequently overtook to take the win and his first title, with critics bemoaning an artificially-engineered set piece, while others applauded F1 for amping the spectacle with a last race, last lap face-off.

Ezpeleta, however, feels the rearrangement was a step too far for F1 and he wouldn’t consider a similar move to bunch up the riders in the closing stages of a season finale just for the show.

“I would not like to have a MotoGP finish like the one in F1,” he told Marca. “I wish there were two drivers fighting for the title in the last race, but the way the whole thing played out... Not for or against anything. 

“It has been a fantastic championship, fought throughout the year and, in the end, has caused controversies that are not good. I like to have a championship, if it can be, until the very disputed end, but I don't like that after the end they create doubt, that the runner-up doesn't talk anymore. 

Indeed, Ezpeleta points to MotoGP’s own contentious championship showdown in 2015 when Valentino Rossi was punished for allegedly kicking Marc Marquez’s Honda down during the Malaysian MotoGP.

With camera angles obstructed and differing accounts from Rossi and Marquez, the stewards eventually ruled the Italian must start the final Valencia round from the back of the grid, leaving him powerless to stop Jorge Lorenzo from cruising to a third title up front.

“I certainly don't dream about it. As I did not dream, although everyone was very happy from the point of view of media impact, with the 2015 mess between Rossi and Márquez. I don't dream about those things.”

How will MotoGP cope without Valentino Rossi?

Seven years on and MotoGP is preparing for its first Rossi-less season in 26 years following the Italian’s retirement at the conclusion of the 2021 campaign.

Still arguably the most popular rider on the grid despite his declining form towards the end, it is feared supporters could turn off in the absence of their hero. However, Ezpeleta believes there are enough characters and spectacle in place to continue is legacy and retain his fanbase for 2022.

“I'm going to keep doing the same thing I was doing. In part, Valentino's legacy is to leave some guys who ride great motorcycles. I don't think that all the riders we have right now would be at the level they are without Valentino. 

“I see all those who go up, who said that their idol was Valentino and that makes you want to emulate him. But a school of people has already been created that is doing very well.”