MotoGP: Row erupts over meeting that cancelled British GP

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A row has erupted over the meeting that brought yesterday’s action at the British Grand Prix to an end with no races run, with MotoGP organisers Dorna claiming that the meeting was a formally-organised event, a claim denied by teams and riders who say they were not informed that it would be taking place.

Speaking yesterday in an extraordinary press conference after the cancellation of racing thanks to unsafe track conditions, former Grand prix star and current Dorna representative to race control Loris Capirossi told journalists that the teams and riders had been notified of the 4pm meeting, where track conditions were to be discussed before making a decision on continuing to wait for weather to clear.

Answering a question specifically citing Dovizioso’s complaint that he had not been informed, Capirossi told the media that he was sure that the information had been passed to the teams.

“Nearly everybody went to the meeting and we missed only a few riders. But the decision was nearly unanimous because of the safety conditions of the race. It’s not my job to inform the riders or the teams about the meeting, but I am sure that someone informed them.”

However, MCN was informed after the meeting by a senior member of Dovizioso’s team that he in fact was not informed about the meeting, which rather than a formal event organised by race control was instead an ad hoc gathering of riders that swelled in numbers when TV cameras started to broadcast pictures of them arriving at the International Race Team Association offices in the paddock.

That information has been backed up by a statement released by Ducati boss Davide Tardozzi, who says that no official news was passed to them on the meeting.

“Yesterday afternoon I did not receive any official notification of a meeting between the riders and the Race Direction to make a decision about the cancellation of the Grand Prix. The initiative of the meeting with the Race Direction came about spontaneously between a number of riders who started to inform the others to come to the IRTA offices.

“For example, Jorge Lorenzo had been informed by his manager Albert Valera, who had heard from Aleix Espargaro. All the riders were not present because some of them had not been informed and others only showed up after seeing the images on television, but no one had officially called them. That’s exactly what I did, I saw the images on television and I went on my own to find out what was going on.”

The news reflects poorly on Dorna given the magnitude of yesterday’s decision to cancel an entire race program for the first time since 1980. Attracting significant criticism from fans since, it has also raised questions about how effectively race control have been in managing the situation.

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer