Dorna chief: 'Teams too weak in finding sponsors'

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MotoGP teams are currently too weak and not professional enough to secure big budget sponsorship deals that will safeguard their world championship future.

In a brutally honest self assessment of the financial crisis facing some premier class teams, Tech 3 Yamaha boss and International Race Teams Association president, Herve Poncharal pulled no punches.

When confronted with Bernie Ecclestone’s comments that MotoGP teams weren’t presenting their cases sufficiently well enough to pave the way for lucrative sponsorship deals, Poncharal said: “I fully agree with him. I am weak, I am not good enough but I have zero marketing people. I can’t afford that.

“My dream would be to have four guys, maybe more. But the independent teams were hit badly by the stopping of tobacco sponsorship. They did everything. And we didn’t need to approach sponsors because they wouldn’t let us.

“They wanted 100 per cent space on the bike. They ran the hospitality, they did the PR, and even decided the riders for us.

“Because of this we had an easy life on one side but we became weaker and weaker. We are too weak, we are not professional enough and not sharp enough.”

One idea that came out of the recent Barcelona sponsorship summit aimed at tackling some of the financial issues in MotoGP was for Dorna to form a special marketing department solely to aid and assist non-factory teams to attract investment.

Poncharal added: “Unfortunately the independent teams don’t have a budget to afford a full-time marketing department because all our income is invested in proper racing.

“This is a weakness. Dorna is ready to create a marketing department just for the independent teams because we can’t afford to have one.

“They will work for us and also they might come with us if we have a contact to help us when we meet. This could help us be more professional in contacting and talking to potential sponsors.

 “Most of the Barcelona workshop was Dorna showing the teams how they approach sponsors, how they present to them and then to continue and follow-up the relationship after the first contact.

“Everybody expressed their concern about having enough sponsorship or having any real blue chip companies which is I think is what we need. The level of the budget we are looking for it has to be an important company.”

 

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt