MotoGP organiser Dorna has announced a series of financial support measures for independent premier-class teams as the coronavirus pandemic continues to see them unable to go racing.
Working with major shareholders Bridgepoint Capital and CPP Investments, MotoGP will enact measures that will see Moto2 and Moto3 teams and independent MotoGP squads receive considerable advance payments during the months of April, May and June.
Coming as the series announced that the French round of the championship, scheduled for mid-May, has become the fifth in succession to be postponed, the payments will be a necessary lifeline to keep many teams afloat.
Speaking exclusively to The Race after the news was announced, Petronas SRT team boss Johan Stigefelt says that while sponsors continue to assist the outfit, Dorna’s help, negotiated by the Independent Race Teams’ Association, will also be crucial.
“We’ve been working daily on how to manage the situation financially over the next weeks and months,” Stigefelt said. “[Team principal] Razlan [Razali] and I have tried to make a three-month plan, and we’re lucky to have Petronas and our other partners on board, although of course, they have to take measures to account for that we’re not racing.
“The normal support from Dorna is their contribution to the independent teams, and I understand of course that they can’t continue to pay that amount while we’re not racing. But all the independent teams had a very open discussion with Mike Trimby from IRTA and we told them what we need for the next few months to survive.
“How we’ll survive is another question, because that amount won’t cover everything, but it’s a big help. Without that support, the coming months would have been really difficult.”
Petronas is the only team in the championship to run bikes in all three classes (as well as their MotoE squad) and former grand prix racer Stigefelt says that while it’s reduced costs as much as possible, there are still a lot of overheads as it continues to pay the 60 people it requires to run seven bikes in four classes.
“The amount from Dorna is smaller for Moto2 and Moto3 because the costs there are less, but still half of our staff work in those classes. We have to jiggle things around, see what is in front of us, and see what we can pay.
“The salaries are the main cost, and we’ve ceased all other payments for the next three months. We’re not travelling, we’re not investing, we’re not purchasing anything. We have fixed costs too though; for trucks, hospitality, workshop rental.
“We have lease fees from the manufacturers too, which is something that we’re discussing with them.
“Everyone has been very helpful, both from the sponsor side and from our suppliers. We’re all in the same boat and we’re all trying to help each other. I’m talking to everyone in my team every day, because everyone is worried right now.”